A Public Art Sculpture at Jezzine Barracks, Townsville, in collaboration with Aboriginal Artist Billy Doolan.
“Canoe People” evolved as a collaboration between Billy Doolan and myself. One of the Traditional Owner Groups of the Jezzine Barracks site are the Wulgurukaba People, Billy tells me that the literal translation of “Wulgurukaba” is Canoe People. Billy had originally created a drawing of the “Canoe People” that I was then able to interpret and transform to the Sculpture that you see here.
Canoe People is positioned close to the ocean, looking out over Rose Bay in Townsville, so that the sculpture appears to float on the ocean. This location was traditionally an important meeting place for peoples up and down this part of the coast, and there is in-fact a Canoe Tree (commonly known as a Terpentine) on the bank opposite the artwork.
One of the detail photographs shows the traditional fish spear used by peoples in this area. Billy Doolan and I actually fabricated this together to create a design that was as authentic as we could get it.
One of the things that was important for both Billy and I with this sculpture was that it appeared natural and that it would actually look like it was “on the water”.
In one of the photos, you can see on the left hand side, a Qantas jet taking off from Townsville Airport as a local resident sea eagle glides over the bay.
Below is a short video in which Billy Doolan explains the creation story.
Photography by Giuseppe Vizzone, Amanda Feher and Wyn Binmore