SPOILER ALERT: Deborah Redwood announced the winner of Sculpture in the Garden 2023 for her Banksia artwork, receiving $30 000 prize money. 

The Wollongong Botanic Gardens is hosting an array of eclectic and captivating sculptures as part of Sculpture in the Garden 2023. The biannual event is one of the highlights of the city’s creative cultural calendar and has returned this year, much to the delight of local artists.

Wollongong artist Julia Stjevanovic said the outdoor exhibition was a good opportunity to admire and appreciate other artists’ work.

“It’s not so much to get inspiration, I suppose it does give some ideas, but its more just to reflect on what people use, what materials and what they are trying to say with their work,” she said.

The engaging range of sculptures has been designed by local, national, and international artists to intrigue and inspire the entire community, artist or not.

Twenty-five exhibits have been scattered across the gardens, a popular place for social gatherings and relaxation. It is anticipated the public art will give 30,000 people a new reason to visit the botanic gardens during the six-week exhibition.

“I really like seeing the sculptures in a natural environment,” Ms Stjevanovic said.

“The placement is really interesting because with sculpture often an artist, particularly a sculpture artist will be site specific so they will think about the work they make because of the actual situation. I don’t know if that’s how these artists have worked or not but it’s something to consider.”

Local artist Anne Phelan said, while she often comes to the gardens, she has paid an extra visit to see one particular sculpture.

“I saw a picture of a banksia made out of nails; it was incredible. That is what I’m most excited to find,” she said.

This artwork was numbered ‘Sculpture 1’ for a reason, as it seems to be a main attraction for people visiting the exhibition. “Banksia”, created by Deborah Redwood, is a representation of the woody cone produced by a banksia flower. Created by using thousands of ground-down nails, the artist has attempted to draw attention to the “incredibly, final transformational process” from a flower to seed release.

Tomorrow, Thursday, 23 March, an artist will be awarded the Acquisitive Sculpture Award and take home $30,000 in prize money.

The sculptures will remain on display to the public until the end of April.

Video: Tour of Wollongong Botanic Gardens and some of the many installations on display. Which one will you be voting for?