2005 Veterans’ War Memorial, Canberra ACT (Proposal)
Proposal for a site-specific memorial, in association with Andrew Crick
This memorial was designed to honour the men and women from the Canberra region who served during conflicts and on peacekeeping missions throughout the world. War and most conflict is usually concerned with land and territory, in the most literal sense. This design works with the earth itself to create a monument that is at once discreet and stately. The shape and form of this design provides the public with an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of the memorial itself in a peaceful, tranquil setting. Its large, flowing outline means they can explore its parameters and its hidden internal spaces by walking around it and following its contours.
Veterans’ War Memorial intentionally eschews the popular ‘beacon-like’ approach to monuments, in favour of a form that gently rises from the earth and appears integrated and in harmony with the site. This is where much of the sensitivity and subtlety of the work comes from, yet it is on the level of scale that it becomes grand and on par with similar symbolic structures. Measuring approximately 18.8 metres long by 16 metres wide by 2 metres high, the sculptural form of the memorial has the substantial width and breadth that reflect the importance and significance of its purpose.
Inherent within its sculptural shape are two identifiable symbols. The most obvious and commanding symbol is that of the spiral. The less overt shape, formed more from the positive and negative shapes of the spiral, is an adaptation of the yin and yang sign. These two symbols have been melded together to create a cohesive, singular sculptural form whose archetypal symbolic meaning (in particular the spiral) resonates to all people of all cultural backgrounds. Where the spiral represents continuity and regeneration, the yin and yang symbol represents harmony and balance. These seemingly contradictory elements are indicative of the complex logic and motivations that are at work in issues of war, service and peace-keeping.