The Henry Lawson Festival committee, past and present, has fundraised for many years for a life size bronze statue of Henry Lawson. In early February a delivery truck made its way from the dock in Sydney to the South Street Depot and the statue arrived in Grenfell. The statue will be installed in time for the 2014 Henry Lawson Festival and planning is already underway for the official unveiling. $10,000 funding from 2013 Community Building Partnership Program has been awarded for the statues installation, in acknowledgement of the projects value.
In 2012 the festival was approached by a company offering to produce a bronze statue for a very competitive price. This opportunity was accepted by the Henry Lawson Festival committee who agreed to engage the artists, Gillie and Marc Schattner. Members of the festival committee have been working closely on the project with the Sydney based artists for over 12 months.
This artistic installation was inspired by Central NSW Tourism’s focus on the visitor experience. The festival’s goal for the statue was to provide a unique opportunity for visitors and locals to connect with Grenfell by encouraging them to sit with Henry and appreciate the town streetscape. It is anticipated that thousands of photographs will be taken and shared across the internet with the hash tags #GrenfellNSW #Henrylawson.
‘The statue is a coup for Grenfell Tourism’ states Clr Carly Brown ‘it gives me great pride to have played a part in this public art project.
Fifteen years planning for the project, of which I have been part of for 10 years, is a major achievement for The Henry Lawson Festival of Arts committee. The statue is a legacy, built on community pride in the arts born by Harold Goodwin in 1958.’
Clr Carly Brown continues ‘We wanted to portray Henry Lawson the people’s poet, the bohemian artist, troubled soul and famed storyteller. We did not want to raise our Henry upon a plinth above the people and portray him as the exemplary man. It is honest. He sits; eyes cast over his beloved birthplace, contemplating the visit he never had. Weary but relaxed Henry is poised, pen in hand, notepad blank. A vacant place exists either side of Henry which beacons you sit…to take a moment, to reflect on, what Lawson’s birthplace means to you.’
An extensive brief on Henry Lawson was prepared for the artists. Starting with sketches the festival representatives ensured the artist understood Henry. Once sketches were satisfactory, we moved on to a clay model. Over several weeks of collaboration a final clay version was reached and it was cast in bronze and treated to create the patina colour synonymous with bronze statues. In January the statue began its journey to Australia by boat, and later this year the journey will conclude when the statue is positioned in Grenfell Main Street in the lead up to the 2014 Henry Lawson Festival.