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‘That’s Life’ sculpture to inspire library-gallery users

15 Sep, 2021

A metal bonsai tree and a bronze bird top off a new sculpture for Hyphen.

Weighing almost 300kg, the mixed media sculpture titled ‘That’s Life’ was created by Wodonga artist Ken Raff, who produced the Porta sculpture on the Lincoln Causeway.

Mr Raff is thrilled with the finished product that stands almost three metres tall on the outdoor Sculpture Terrace.

“Being a predominately steel fabricated sculpture, there was a lot of steel cutting involved using both a plasma cutter and an angle grinder with a cutting disc,” he said.

“Once the shapes were cut, they were then welded into place using a mig welder.

“To clean the welds and edges up an angle grinder was used, first with a grinding disc and then finally with a wire brush.

“The form takes shape from the base plate up to the body of the work and then finally the spiral was shaped and fabricated.”

The sculpture has been painted and sealed to ensure the work endures the outdoors for a long time.

Mr Raff spent more than 300 hours fabricating the sculpture.

“I am very fortunate to own my own workshop space, which is an industrial shed with a five-metre-high ceiling,” he said.

“The high ceiling allows me to move tall works around using a gantry to lift heavy works like this commission, which will weigh approximately 200 to 300 kilograms.”

Mr Raff’s sculpture concept was a visual expression of the important role both libraries and art galleries play in the development of a healthy and more balanced and integrated creative culture.

“It draws connections with the long history of the land through the organic nature of the construction, its form, and the use of symbol and metaphor,” he said.

“The sculpture encourages the viewer to read his or her own thoughts and ideas into it and to gain meaning from it.

“Much of my artwork has involved what I refer to as ‘the tension of opposites’ inherent in everything within our environment and this concept is embedded in the work presented here.”

Mr Raff said design concepts always change during the construction process.

“I work from the maquette and scale the actual piece up from it and this work is eight times the size of the maquette,” he said.

“As the fabrication process continues it takes on its own form.

“While close in appearance the maquette and actual work are different.”

Mr Raff said it was a privilege to contribute a major work for the new library-gallery.

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