Sebastian Di Mauro’s stunning public artwork, Rise, was commissioned as an entry statement for the Lake Street precinct upgrade in Cairns. Comprising two companion shell-like sculptural elements of 12mm stainless steel with automotive paint finish interiors, Rise is inspired by and celebrates the unique natural and vibrant life of the Cairns environment and its relationship to the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
Di Mauro’s concept was particularly inspired by the Conch shell, which is found throughout the Great Barrier Reef. The organic spiral form has been abstracted and streamlined with a robust stainless steel exterior, and perforated to expose the interior high gloss, and warm, luscious magenta colour within. Part of the form has been removed to expose the pearlescent interior surface, which has been richly coloured to echo the Conch shell’s smooth interior. Di Mauro says of the work:
The exterior shell-like form is critical in conveying notions of resilient protection, while the interior displays the smooth and comforting feeling of nurture and support. The concept is also inspired by the very geometric and colourful heliconias, one of the numerous exotic plant species that grow in Tropical North Queensland.
Chair of the Cairns Public Art Advisory Committee, Cr Linda Cooper says the artwork complements the themes created within the new Lake Street precinct. As she describes:
The reef and rainforest themes have been included in the City Centre Alive design and these themes have been reflected in this piece of public art, which will greet visitors as they enter our city centre. The inclusion of public art in streetscapes encourages creative thinking and helps people engage with their surrounds. With City Centre Alive being such a major project, we thought it was important to mark the occasion with an artwork that embodied the key themes and objectives.