The official opening Monday 14th September, 2009, of the ‘Gathering Garden’ on the Civic Centre site in the
town centre of Alice Springs was the culmination of a Public Arts project that
brought together Indigenous artists from nine communities surrounding Alice
Springs, artist Julie Squires, who came up with the concept, Alice
Springs Town Council,
and the NT government.
The artists who worked and contributed to the ‘Gathering Garden’ include Marie Elena Ellis, Michael Nelson, Roseanne Ellis, Marcia Alice,
April Campbell, Emma Daniels, Tina Malbunka, Thomas Rice, June Smith and MK
Turner. The artists created paintings for the garden that were reinterpreted
into the motif designs and sculptured coolamon forms by artist Julie Squires and
her assistant Fred White.
This new attraction for Alice Springs is an environmental art installation,
inspired by the rich history of the Civic Centre site, which was the location of the
cameleers’ meeting area, the town’s first mosque and
fire brigade, as well as being the residence of the famous Central Australian
anthropologist and horticulturalist, Miss Muriel Olive Pink.
More than just an
art installation, it invites the visitor to rest a while and reflect on the
original inhabitants, as well as paying homage to past
and present inhabitants, that include the Afghan and Indian cameleers, the early
European pioneers and settlers, and the Arrernte people on whose land Alice
Springs is situated.