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David Higgins

Warrnambool artist to sculpt in Changchun

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Renowned Warrnambool artist David Higgins has been chosen to create a sculpture in Changchun, Warrnambool’s Chinese sister city.

Earlier this year, as part of the sister city relationship, the Changchun Municipal Government asked Warrnambool City Council (WCC) to suggest a local artist who would then be considered for inclusion in the 15th China Changchun International sculpture symposium.

Warrnambool Art Gallery director John Cunningham recommended Mr Higgins and the Changchun Municipal Urban Sculpture Planning and Managing Office subsequently issued an invitation for Mr Higgins to create a 4m high bronze sculpture.

“It’s very exciting and I realise how important this trip will be,” Mr Higgins said.

“I’ll be methodical and get it done. I see the work I will do as being a cultural bridge between the two cities.

“It’s important we have a co-operative relationship with the Chinese.”

Mr Higgins, whose creative career has spanned 35 years, proposed several ideas with the symposium organisers selecting the Goddess of the Southern Ocean which the artist described as a “life-protecting warrior”.

“The maternal form of the sculpture represents joy, life and future and expresses a connection to the earth and the cycles of life and death,” he said.

Mr Higgins will be one of 15 artists from 14 countries creating sculptures for Changchun over a busy two-month period.

The finished sculpture will be displayed in the sister-city sculpture garden in front of the main Changchun municipal building, near a tree planted by Warrnambool Mayor Cr Michael Neoh.

Mr Cunningham said it was a rare opportunity for a community to be represented abroad through art and the themes in Mr Higgins’ sculpture were universally identifiable.

"While a central focus of the relationship with Changchun is on trade and the economy, I think the addition of art makes the relationship more complete and helps build a deeper understanding between both cities," Mr Cunningham said.

The Changchun government is covering all costs associated with the creative venture and will also provide an interpreter and technical assistant.

Mr Higgins has worked for institutions around the globe including zoological parks and gardens, museums, governments and universities.

He has produced wildlife postage stamps for Australia and has worked for advertising agencies and publishers.

Along with sculpture he is an accomplished painter, illustrator, textile and graphic designer and ceramicist.

He recently painted a 30m mural along Timor Walk as part of the Hidden Histories Laneway Festival.

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