The Bronze Sculpture: “Don’t look at the Islands”.
This sculpture endeavours to embody the core element of forcible separation- expressed through the eyes of the children – whose parents, family and larger tribe – are physically torn apart in this horrendous debacle. Of course children were also forcibly removed to the Islands as well.
As the visitors reach land’s end at the entrance to the One Mile Jetty, they are confronted with a life-like sculptural recognition of the pain that was one of the most poignant aspect of this terrible history epitomised in the tales that have come down to us, of how the children reacted and coped with the horror of being separated from their parents. This story, so movingly conveyed to us, by the Working Group, is absolutely inspiring above all others, in this poignant tale – that of how, while the adults were taken, the children were left behind and the horror of separation was so great for them, that they could not bear to look towards the islands. Totally forlorn, they could only point towards this place of the internment of their parents, their other hand shielding their eyes, lest the vision on the horizon would stay- and perhaps somehow establish the facts, that they could not bear to believe were true. This story engendered such a powerful image for us that we believe the sculpture we designed must act as a ‘node point’ in the telling of this story- forever marking and memorialising this place.
This sculpture of a girl, pointing towards the islands- her hand covering her eyes – unable to even look towards these forlorn places of incarceration and pain, is based on this tragically inspirational story. We have endeavoured to capture the huge depth of the intensity of her forlornness, with this one simple gesture. Her little brother, clinging to the only ‘mother’ figure he has now, expresses the premature responsibility that this young girl will have to face, as his future guardian- while, herself, too young to be cut adrift from her extended family- who were often situated far away, left behind, when the children followed their parents to Carnarvon.
The massive ‘Chains’ –with which this sculpture is inevitably linked -also invoke an instantaneous, almost visceral response, which needs no further explanation providing we ensure that the ‘connection’ to the narrative is contained within them, visually.