Emailed replies:  

The sculpture is very different to what was suggested in early publicity. A bower, it was said, inspired by the courting habits and nest of the bower bird, and related in some friendly way to the strong aboriginal cultural presence in Redfern.The result of course is very little like any sort of bower and has only a touch of aboriginality or bird (the blue inserts on the pavement). It is aggressive, with the steel shafts aimed for the sky like missiles, or something dreamed up for the use of Vlad the Impaler. Having swallowed my initial disappointment, I have to say I now rather like the sculpture. Sydney has so little good public sculpture. This is a powerful piece and it is surprising to see it in Redfern rather than, say, the CBD. It looks beautiful at night, the indestructible look of the daytime tempered by the pink and green lighting which works well with the silver shafts. And there is something inexplicably reassuring or comforting to walk through it at any time of the day or night. However, I still have reservations; about the size for example. It is rather too big for the site, nor is it level. And it is poorly located on the site itself. Why so close to that brick wall, when surely it could have been sited a metre or so to the north? Such a siting would have enabled it to be seen when walking along Redfern Street towards the station. An alternative site might have been the corner of Redfern Street and Chalmers Street at the entrance to the revamped (mostly successfully) Redfern Park. There is a lot of empy, level, brand new ugly asphalt on that corner, crying out for some sort of aesthetic improvement. I assume however that the sculpture will remain where it is. If so, that top bastion of the brick wall could be easily removed and give the sculpture more room to breathe. It would be some sort of plus.

J.A., Redfern Resident

[May 30, 2009]

I think the area needs some art work and sculpture around. I like it.



[May 29, 2009]

I lived in the area until the end of 2008 and have walked past this sculpture many times on the way to Kitty's fruit and veg shop. It has always made me think of someone being impaled on those gruesome spikes. I have a very vivid imagination and at times this can make me quite uncomfortabe.

I think it'd good for art to provoke a reaction, but my reaction to this piece was to find an alternative rout to the shops.


[May 29, 2009]

While I am in favour of public art works, from the first minute I saw this sculpture I was aghast. Aside from my low opinion of its aesthetic value (I find it hideous and ugly), it is beyond comprehension how anyone could think that such a piece is appropriate for Redfern. Are the people who agreed to this clueless? My first thought when I saw it was, "it reminds me of TJ Hickey's death. Why the hell did they put that there?!".

I cannot state how strongly I hate this piece and I hope that it is replaced with something else. Can we get those Guerrilla Gardeners in?


[May 29, 2009]

Until my recent move to Melbourne I walked past this corner most weekends. I found it alarming and to be honest a little tasteless long before making the connection with the death of that poor boy. Redfern is a dynamic and diverse community, surely something forward-looking, bold yes but perhaps with a sense of fun would have been more appropriate? To be honest most mornings I was just surprised no unfortunate punter had been impaled on it the night before.


[May 29, 2009]

Call me cynical, but, the resemblance to hypodermic needles is striking.

Please remove.


[May 28, 2009]

I have lived in Redfern for 26 years and have seen many changes mostly for the better. This sculpture is an eye-sore and the symbolism is insensitive and horrific. Remember T J Hickey who was brutally impaled. This sculpture is an accident waiting to happen. Please remove it!


[May 27, 2009]

My Opinions regarding the Redfern statue cnr Regent and Redfern streets:

It's to big for its location, the scale is all wrong.

It doesn't fit in with the local area, it would better placed in a large park.--

Director/Senior Architect

[May 26, 2009]

I share the views of C.B. (May 26), who articulately captured reactions to the sculpture. And i see the Anzac emblem connection too. I must admit that tragedy of TJ Hickey came almost immediately to mind on seeing those cold metal sharp things. Have a look at some other works the artists have produced. They seem a little obsessed with 'spikes'.

I think the two artists are lost in their own little world, if they think this is appropriate. If you convince enough people (in position of authority) with theory, however slight, and a lengthy CV of other 'convincings' does not automatically draw this piece into the realm of the real. Inspiration from the bowerbird? The only ornithological connection i can make is that this is a typical artist's nest of thoughts: start with something natural, spin it around and around until it's a dense circular impenetrable thicket of thoughts where they can lay their egos, i mean eggs, and viola! Art!

Don't you get it?

Why don't you hold a public poll to see what other place/area might be appropriate to place it? Flippant suggestions: near the javelin throw at the next Olympics / outside a Swiss army knife shop / in the middle of King St Newtown in celebration of the prevalence of The Great Chicken Sate Dish?


[May 26, 2009].


I saw your installation at the "there goes the neighbourhood" exhibition.

I thought it was a great installation because you sought public opinion about the sculpture, which I believe is something which the Council did not do. Secondly I thought it was great because I realised I wasn't the only one who thought it was, for want of a better term, 'bad taste'.

Besides the fact that the sculpture is harsh, unresolved, too bulky and looks like clinical trash, it has been placed in the middle of a community which has been devastated not only by the untimely death of TJ Hickey, but also by intravenous drugs. I think the symbolism of the sculpture is very damaging for a community already down on its knees. I'm not saying it should be replaced by something repulsively happy, but I definitely think the community should have been allowed more input as to what gets put in the middle of Redfern for the next twenty years. There are enough local artists around who could have set up a workshop and invited
people to design the sculpture and the Council could have voted on the design and then got the artist to commission it. That way, everyone gets a say.

Despite this monstrosity, the Council has done a great job doing up the street and I think it was a very positive move, but no-one wants their cherry to be replaced with a pebble.

Thank you!


[May 26, 2009]

I thought it was based on the Anzac emblem or possibly had something to do with TJ Hickey. I have no idea why it was placed in Redfern. As I walk past it regularly, I am often puzzled by it. I don't understand why it is in silver since at certain times of the day it's reflection from the sun is very harsh.


[May 25, 2009]

it is revolting !! hideous, an eyesore, totally inappropriate. why? someone misguided - how sad.


[May 25, 2009]

Can we just have it removed?

I think the work is really ugly, violent, depressing and totally inappropriate for Redfern. It looks like the kind of thing you could be impaled on - which is amazingly insensitive given the riots sparked by the death of local boy TJ Hickey in this way in 2004. As a local resident, it's a constant reminder, and to visitors it's completely unwelcoming.

I'm not entirely sure why it was put there at all. Were there a number of artists concepts shortlisted before this one was chosen? I'd love to have seen what else was on the drawing board. And are these sorts of things up for public discussion anyway? I know you can't please everyone all the time, but I can't see this work having been approved for production if anyone who really lives here had seen what was proposed.


[May 25, 2009]


I'm just responding to the question about the sculpture on Redfern St. My opinion of the sculpture is that asthetically it's not that
attractive to be honest. I have walked past it many many times. Even walked through it! It's interesting that you can walk through it! I don't know why it was placed there but I'm curious to know. It would be good if there was a plaque explaining this as most sculptures whether they be fountains, statues, memorials etx do have something to explain it's meaning. I would be very grateful if someone could please let me know what the sculpture signifies. I will then let friends and other people know.

Thank you.

[May 25, 2009]

only someone who has visited normandy can fully appreciate the need for tank traps and anti personal defences like we have on the corner of regent and redfern. Redfern deserves something better the war is over we have said sorry its time to say goodbye to aggresion of any sort and this sculptor has to go . My wife feels that it is oppresive and envisages impalement , and provides no enjoyment. one way or another it will go regards james and bec, cope street, redfern


[May 24, 2009]

I find the sculpture culturally insignificant, sharp and generally unattractive. The sculpture does nothing to convey the rich and connected nature of our community. I want people from other suburbs, zooming through redfern to get a glimpse of how redfern is maturing as a community. Now a single sculpture is not going to convey this for everybody, but really... a tangle of grey barbed metal certainly has no chance. I would like to see it removed and larger public consultation conducted for its replacement.


[May 24, 2009]

I think it is fantastic. It obviously engages with the public and I see the intricate feather patterns. This is not a survey just two rhetorical questions. The artwork was done by two artists who have lived in Redfern or have family history there. These surveys annoy me. If you are worried about gentrification don't focus on the art, focus on the planning and community inclusion. Typical one dimensional social commentary as soundbite upon Redfern as a neat background model. Wankers!


[May 23, 2009]

Having seen many echidnas as a child, I like the representation. I like the fact you can get close to it rather than just viewing it from a distance.there is something a little humerous about being able to walk across its back.


[May 22, 2009]

I like the fact that you can walk through it - that you can interact. It is bold - but I think the colour is a failure. It is a bit cold and stark. It looks good at night.

Ultimately, the fact that there are a lot of responses to the survey show that people have noticed it, responded to it, and thought about it. That is half the challenge with public sculpture.


[May 21, 2009]

Whenever I walk past this sculpture I am offended. It seems like an antagonistic cage, bristling with steel guttering. I tried to justify it, in terms of aboriginality (as Redfern is the only Sydney suburb to contain aboriginal content), and it evokes shields, armour...not organic, but a 21st Centuried/commodified idea of aboriginal art. Considering the location, and it's requirement to withstand heavy onslaught, it can also act as a defensive barrier, if missiles were being thrown at you and you needed to hide in the folds, but being semitransparent, you would not be hidden. It acts as a metaphor for Redfern's gentrification and lack of community consultation, a big mistake, a waste of money in a troubled area where civic rights have been sold to the developers and the disenfranchised have nowhere to go.


[May 20, 2009]

In response to the yellow notices in Redfern requesting feedback on the sculputure. I live in Newtown and work in Darlinghurst and walk from home to work every day past this sculpture. I feel this area needs healing harmonious sculptures which are inclusive of all in the area, particularly the indigenous population. I do not feel this sculpture is healing or harmonious. It is jagged, sharp and stark, not restful. It seems almost war like.


[May 20, 2009]

To whom it may concern,


Having recently moved into the Redfern area along with starting up a new retail business specializing in vintage design furniture at 120A Redfern Street, Redfern I fully support what the council have planned for Redfern, including the recent installing of an AMAZING sculpture such as the one located on the corner of Redfern Streets and Regent Street. It really adds to the area.

As mentioned above having chosen to invest in Redfern by starting up a new business in this area I truly believe that Redfern is changing for the better, and by placement of creative, innovative sculpture/s as the one in question sets Redfern a step head, which is a place where I want to live & work in.


Thank you for taking the time to hopefully read my email as I do believe and want to see positive things happen in and for Redfern. I hope my vote in favour of and opinion count towards keeping this particular sculpture in place.

Once again, thank you.

Kind Regards,
"Our Space Interiors"
120a Redfern Street, Redfern NSW 2016

[May 20, 2009]

I don't know if the sculpture is intended to mean anything, but I like it. It's very dynamic and tough. Also it does not appear to have been vandalised and I really thought that was on the cards. Monumental sculpture has the effect of creating a sense of place. I don't know what the other entrants were in the competition or whether it was a fair judging of the entries.

I like the way that you are engaging the public by consulting them in this way. I wonder if you are going to continue. And whether you plan to put this information to any use.

Thanks for asking.


[May 19.2009]

at first sight, i didn't like it. it looked amateurish to me, designed by committee. but then i thought about where it is to be placed - at the crossroads of redfern. it now looks to me like a circle of warriors - shields raised, faces and bodies concealed, huddled together for a last stand against the encroaching forces. so now i like it - with one qualification. Why isn't it bigger and more prominent? i believe this sculpture would be all the more powerful for being at the top of a hill, really only metres away from where it is intended to be. i think a roundabout should be built at the cross sections of Regent and Redfern/Regent and Cleveland and the sculpture, raised up and increased a little in size, be placed other words, i believe you should be able to see it from the city. well, thos are my thoughts. i hope it all turns out to be special and not average.

A.H. (Wiliam St. resident)

[May 18, 2009]

I love the idea of public sculpture.

I do find this piece edgy, angry even. It does nothing to enhance that particular corner. I feel the scale is inappropriate. It does block the view of some ugly shops which is in my opinion its only redeeming feature.


[May 18, 2009]

I find it very difficult to form an opinion based on the Bower bird concept. Redfern is quite simply not a habitat that that would support bowerbirds...just ask any Ibis..

I believe the sculpture has been designed to directly compete with the unacceptable neon display from the hotel adjacent with the possiblity of cancelling each other.


[May 18, 2009]