Bountiful reflection of Wandin

Artist Ernst Fries with Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox and Yarra Valley Arts President Reggie Clark.

By Kath Gannaway

The berry and fruit orchards of the Wandin district feature in a sculpture designed to reflect Wandin North’s unique industries and environment.

The sculpture by Yarra Glen sculptor Ernst Fries sits prominently at the Wandin North shopping centre on the Warburton Highway overlooking the hills and wineries.

The work, commissioned by Yarra Ranges Council to create a concept reflecting the simplicity, power and resonance of the bustling town area, is part of the Wandin North Streetscape Project which included consultation with the Wandin North Traders Group.

Mr Fries said the sculpture reflected Wandin North’s natural environment, industries, community spirit and diversity.

“The berry and fruit orchards are shown in a colourful and joyous presentation of an overflowing abundance with a multitude of round, coloured glass called Dalle de Verre, which will change in intensity of colour with the prevailing light and the direction of vision,” he said.

“I created two shapes which lean forward, carrying the abundance of the local natural recourses.

“They intersect and support each other to reflect the community spirit.

“My intention was to highlight the close relationship and interaction of the main contributors to the community’s livelihood.”

Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox said the artwork was commissioned following consultation with traders, community groups, residents and visitors regarding suggested improvements to the precinct.

“Public artwork, streetscape works, footpaths, connections to the rail trail, way-finding signage and references to the war memorial in Wandin East were identified as priorities,” Cr Cox said.

“This sculpture reminds us of the beautiful fruit orchards, berry farms and wineries which are some of the most outstanding agricultural activities taking place in Wandin North and its surrounds.

“Our community has expressed a desire to see an increase in quality arts and heritage activities in the public places where they live and this project has certainly delivered just that.”

Mr Fries’ created the Bushfire Memorial at Yarra Glen, also commissioned by Council, Community Spirit, commissioned through Sherman Gallery by the former Telecom in Sydney and The Victorian Coat of Arms at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court commissioned through Aegis Fine Art.

He was instrumental in establishing the Australian National Committee for the International Association of Art (UNESCO).