A delicate balance between humans and nature: ‘Sonata’ unveiled at Forbes’ Warroo Reserve

Standing within a clearing at Warroo Reserve, a child playing the violin balances upon the back of a life-sized bull.

Sonata by Suzie Bleach and Andrew Townsend is the latest sculpture to be added to the Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail and explores the delicate relationships between humans and nature.

“The bull represents the powerful forces of nature in contrast to the fragility of the child and her violin. It is as if the bull is held under a spell by her music,” Suzie said.

“At the heart of it, Sonata expresses the need for an accord with nature. When properly appeased, the raging bull can become surprisingly tender. This sculpture is especially significant at this moment in human history. It explores our relationship with nature and of the delicate and careful balance required if we are to survive the challenges of climate change and viral pandemic.”

Working with 3mm Corten steel plate, the creative duo from the Sapphire Coast in NSW took seven months to design and create the 800-kilogram piece.

“Our process begins with anatomical research and life-sized drawings. A friend’s enthusiastic daughter was our model for the child figure. She chose the outfit, gumboots and all!”

“The sculpture consists of hundreds of individual steel panels traced from cardboard patterns and then pressed, hammered and welded to assume the desired form.”

Forbes Arts Society Chairperson Trudy Mallick said, “this latest installation along the trail looks at home within the striking landscape of Warroo reserve”.

“Not only does Sonata continues the trail’s unofficial theme of environmental sustainability and preservation, the sculpture also commemorates a significant moment in history and will play an important role in our region’s post-pandemic recovery.”

Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Phyllis Miller OAM, welcomed the installation of the 21st Sculpture Down the Lachlan piece Sonata.

“I think this sculpture is a beautiful piece which connects this amazing art program with our strong agricultural legacy. We have long been known as an agriculturally rich region and it is a great honour to be fostering an inclusive and culturally rich community with our world class permanent public art trail,” Councillor Miller said.

“Forbes’ dynamic arts and events program is making us the premier destination to live and visit – a regionally iconic tourist destination.”

The Forbes Cultural Centre development is part of the $7.2 million ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ which is proudly funded by the NSW Government’s Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund, the Forbes Arts Society, Forbes Shire Council, Lachlan Shire Council and Evolution Mining.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the unveiling of the new sculpture on the trail would provide onlookers with a unique experience, while adding to the region’s growing reputation as an arts and cultural destination.

“The Sonata sculpture is a fantastic addition to the Lachlan trail, providing visitors with a unique experience and a powerful and timely message. I urge locals and visitors alike to take a stroll along the trail to see this new addition for themselves,” Mr Farraway said.

The ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ aims to foster visual arts throughout the Forbes Shire, grow the visitor economy and promote the Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination. The project also includes the Gum Swamp redevelopment and extension of the Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail.

For more information about the project and to view the proposed plans, visit www.forbesartssociety.com