The cast of Gunnedah’s newest sculpture has been completed, with the installation of the tiles now in progress. The Rainbow Serpent water feature has been taking shape offsite through Waterforms International to ensure structural integrity of the large artwork before it is installed outside the Gunnedah Civic. Gunnedah Shire Council Cultural Precinct's team leader Lauren Mackley said the construction schedule had been delayed by the challenges of social distancing and social isolation, but the sculpture was due to be installed in Gunnedah in May. Following that time, there will need to be work on the installation, connection of utilities, repaving and function tests, with the hope it will be fully completed in June. “The story of the Rainbow Serpent, as told by the late Ellen Draper, is about restoring balance,” Ms Mackley said. “In times like this, the completion of this project is a symbolic restoration of balance and hope for our future.” The water feature incorporates mosaic tiles by a dedicated group of local Indigenous women.
Shirley Long, Janet Wanless, Delma Jones, Ellen Draper, Gloria Foley, June Cox, Alison Cox, Rita Long and Cindy Foley became the core group of artists who met regularly for more than two years to create the glass mosaics that adorn the surface of the Rainbow Serpent Water Feature. These women have been advocating for the completion of this project for just under 20 years. “We are so happy with the progress so far. Waterforms International is doing a wonderful job and the serpent looks unbelievable,” Janet Wanless said. “We are so overwhelmed and excited the project is finally taking shape and coming to life. It has been a long journey.” In 2019, the project was awarded $155,725 through the NSW Government Regional Cultural Fund in December 2018, adding to the council's 54 per cent contribution to the total.