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'Maali Rising'-Artists Concept

A Developer's Percent for Public Art Project

Maali Rising

Maalinup is the Place of the Black Swan, which acknowledges the location of the Bel Eyre Motel in Belmont, on the Swan River.

This sculpture is based on the Black Swan and the Marri Eucalyptus Tree.

Maali (The Black Swan), lives on the Derbari Yerrigan (Swan River).
Although the Black Swan is found in wetlands throughout Australia, this graceful bird has had a special association with Western Australia from the earliest times.

According to Nyungar belief, the Swan River was created when a serpent-like creature known as the Waugal left its cave in the hills, carving out the Swan Valley, river and land as it journeyed west to the ocean. The Nyungar people hold great respect for the river as being the giver of life.

The Nyungar name for the black swan is Maali, and its colour also features in one of their Dreaming stories. However, it was not until the voyages of Dutch explorers to the Great South Land in the 17th century that the existence of Black Swans was reported to the rest of the world. Until then people in Europe believed that all swans were white.
The sculpture expresses the significance of the Black Swan to this part of the world and particularly this location in Perth, named by the first Europeans, and particularly the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh as the Swan River and subsequently continued by the British colonists as The Swan River Colony.

The Black Swan became a recognised symbol of the new Colony, appearing on government papers, bank notes, postage stamps and other publications such as the Swan River Guardian.

The Black Swan was also used on the original State Crest, which was used prior to the granting of the Warrant for the State Coat of Arms. This Crest sometimes incorporated the motto: "Cygnus insignis", which means "noted for swans". Subsequently the Black Swan was incorporated into the design of the State Badge, the State Seal, the State Coat of Arms and Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

We took direction from our client who expressed a desire for an artwork that was iconic and quintessentially West Australian. Having researched this exhaustively, we settled on the Black Swan as being the most arresting WA symbol of all.

We set out to create something visually beautiful which would capture the attention of guests of the Motel and passers-by alike, on the Great Eastern Highway. The sculpture has also been designed to present an ever changing arrangement of fluid shapes as the observer moves. Ultimately we hope to create an awareness of the plight of the Black Swan as it struggles to survive in the midst of so much urban development.

The overall finished height for the sculpture is 9 meters, formed in Powedered Costed Steel and abraded copper.

Charles Smith & Joan Walsh-Smith
Smith Sculptors
April 2017



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