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A Queanbeyan sculptor with a worldwide reputation has created a shimmering sculpture that changes its shades of evening colours as the sky darkens. The idea is that as the hues of dusk shift, so a bank of lights in the seven-metre wall mutate to reflect the darkening reds and pinks. Field of Light is a $100,000 private commission. There has been criticism recently that not enough new public art is being commissioned by the government but this work wasn’t paid for by the taxpayer. It was commissioned by John and Rosanna Hindmarsh whose company built the apartment block behind it. The sculpture forms part of the entrance piazza and its concrete and glass form meshes visually with the building. The sculptor Matthew Curtis is based in Queanbeyan but has exhibited his creations in Switzerland, Hungary, Canada, Germany and the United States. And now on the corner of Constitution Avenue and Blamey Crescent, opposite the ASIO building. The work is a curved, two-metre high wall with numerous small holes filled with LED lights whose colours shift. Sometimes the wall becomes a field of blood red orbs – resonating with the fields of Flanders in Belgium where the poppies came to symbolise the blood of the war dead.. Unveiling the sculpture on Thursday, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr called it “fantastic”. The sculptor himself was more circumspect, showing some shyness. “It is referencing the fields of Flanders,” Curtis said. “It could be the poppy fields of Flanders or it could be the fallen. “With the going down of the sun, the wall is illuminated at night and glows and this could be the reminder of the fallen.” But he doesn’t want to be too prescriptive. The sculpture is meant to be mysterious. “I would like people to be drawn to this work. I’d like it to be slightly ambiguous but for people to recognise it as a landscape.” The apartment block is on the site of the old headquarters for the Returned Services League. Residents are moving into the newly completed project consisting of 125 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as 10 “premium residences” including a penthouse on the roof. At the unveiling of the sculpture, Mr Hindmarsh said that Canberra was “something of a cultural capital”. “I know the government is committed to building on that reputation,” Mr Hindmarsh said with Mr Barr beside him. But there has been controversy over the current government’s commitment to public art. In recent years, new commissions have dwindled compared with a decade ago when new works were appearing every few months. In August, the ACT chief minister at the time, Jon Stanhope, called for more ambition from his successors. “If we want to be a truly great, recognised world city, we can’t achieve that without public art and an expression of our commitment to the arts,” Mr Stanhope said.

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