A dream spanning two decades, the colourful Rainbow Serpent water feature has now finally been completed in Gunnedah.
The large-scale serpent adorned with glass mosaics, brass and coloured glass and oxidised concrete has been installed in front of The Civic as a lasting tribute to the determination of Gunnedah's female Kamilaroi artists.
These artists include Shirley Long, Janet Wanless, Delma Jones, Ellen Draper, Gloria Foley, June Cox, Alison Cox, Rita Long and Cindy Foley.
Gunnedah Shire Council cultural precinct team leader Lauren Mackley said it was amazing to see the feature come to life.
"The Rainbow Serpent water feature has had its own story, a story of determination and expression of the Kamilaroi women's culture," Ms Mackley said.
"The artwork is a beautiful addition to the Gunnedah landscape but these women have created a safeguard against the loss of irreplaceable cultural knowledge for the whole community to share and appreciate.
"Its creation has drawn on the culture, traditions, families, history and experiences of these women. Those stories are preserved in the 29 circular mosaics that are the feature of this public art piece."
Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC) started the Sculpture Court Public Art Project to connect the spaces within the cultural precinct.
Max Powell and Bronwyn McKeon began the design elements and an extensive community consultation process in 2001, facilitated by Jill Watkins.
The Rainbow Serpent water feature was the third stage of this project as the result of a partnership with then-chair of the Red Chief Lands Council, Ellen Draper, who provided her own drawings as reference material for the final design.
TRAC secured funding to engage Mavis Stone and Max Powell to deliver a design workshop, developing skills in glass mosaic and design.
These Kamilaroi women have continued to advocate for this project to be completed and it has finally come to life.
The project has come to fruition through funding and support from The Gunnedah Shire Council and the NSW Regional Cultural Fund and the passion and dedication of the Gunnedah community.
The sculptural part has now been installed and final works are expected to be completed over the month.
The water feature is the final stage of the Sculpture Court Public Art Project, which also delivered The River Red Gum Tree, installed in 2002 in the Mooki Room and the Water Mural, installed in 2005 in the Mooki Courtyard.
An official opening for the Rainbow Serpent will be held once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.