An artistic legacy at UWS Bankstown

Date: 31/10/2002

The dedication of one student to improve the study environment has led to the creation of a new space for relaxation and reflection at the University of Western Sydney's Bankstown campus.

Visual Arts student Helen Monday has created a sculpture garden to enhance one of the University's buildings, after being awarded $900 for the project through a UWS grant scheme.

Ms Monday says she first came up with the idea for the garden two years ago.

"The space outside Building Five was neglected, and didn't fit in with the surrounding architecture," Ms Monday says.

"I wanted to create a place where people could sit and reflect, and appreciate the natural elements of the space."

Ms Monday applied for one of the Bankstown Campus Life Grants, which aim to build and maintain links between the Bankstown campus and the local community, as well as provide a more vibrant campus for all students and staff.

An existing tree became the starting point for the new design, titled 'The Story of Water', which blends landscaping materials with ceramic elements.

"The design is in the shape of a river catchment, and the different coloured and textured rocks and pebbles are a reminder of our country's diverse aquatic environments," Ms Monday says.

"The ceramic mosaic feature, measuring 1.5 metres square, has been fixed to one of the brick walls of the building and continues with the themes of mapping and water. I've also designed ceramic pots for the project, which have been planted with native grasses and sedges."

Ms Monday says since its opening last Thursday, there have been plenty of positive comments.

"Students are using the space now to rest and relax, and it's even attracted some native birds back to the area," Ms Monday says.

"The project would not have been possible without input from the School of Contemporary Arts and Capital Works and Facilities. We brought art out of the studio and into the 'real world'."

Bankstown campus Provost, and Dean of the College of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, Professor Wayne McKenna, has applauded Ms Monday's initiative.

"This project has helped enhance the look and feel of the campus, and is a lasting reminder of Helen's creative skills and dedication," Professor McKenna says.

"Helen has had to negotiate with several University departments to gain the necessary approvals for this initiative, which demonstrates her strong project management skills.

"She's worked alongside our University gardeners to complete the project, both on time and on budget," he says.

"It's an outstanding contribution from a talented young artist, and her legacy will be enjoyed by hundreds of students for many years to come," Professor McKenna says.

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