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14 April 2021
BY DYLAN DE JONG
A project to build a ‘larger-than-life’ bronze statue of internationally renowned singer-songwriter Nick Cave in Warracknabeal is gaining momentum.
Cave was born at Warracknabeal and project leaders are confident their plans are ‘shovel ready’.
But they said securing money was the biggest hurdle, estimating the statue would cost about $200,000.
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Cave fan and Warracknabeal Arts Council committee member Peter Loy said growing support from the Warracknabeal community and Yarriambiack Shire Council meant the project was well placed to push forward.
“With the support from the council and many locals we know the statue will be built,” he said.
“It’s now a matter of when we can find the money. Finding grants suitable is a problem, but we are always on the lookout.”
Cave is best known as the front man of rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
His music and influence have endured more than 40 years in the industry.
Cave and accomplished British sculptor Corin Johnson designed the bronze statue in the mid ’90s.
It features the musician, covered only in a loin cloth, astride a rearing stallion.
But the concept to build the statue only received serious momentum in 2018 when Cave fans who lived at Warracknabeal launched a crowd-funding campaign for the project.
The group reached an agreement with Mr Johnson, who it would commission to build the statue. Mr Johnson said from London he hoped the group could secure money to push forward with its plans.
“I would still very much like to do the project,” he said.
“I would be happy to get the piece made here and ship it over to Australia or ship over moulds to cast it over there.”
He suggested the group could seek financial support through a ‘revamped’ crowd-funding campaign, sponsorship and government grants.
“I’m sure lots of people who appreciate Nick’s music and people who like something a bit different would be happy to throw a few dollars at a crowd-funding campaign,” he said.
“Some friends of mine in New York run a record label and are always crowd-funding projects. They nearly always get more money than they ask for and it’s often for far more obscure projects than this.
“They said they would be very happy to help advise a campaign if anyone wants to run one – they are massive Nick Cave fans.”
Mr Loy said the success of the Wimmera’s Silo Art Trail coupled with Cave’s star power would make the statue a major tourist attraction for Warracknabeal and the broader Wimmera-Mallee.
“The many who are looking to complete this project feel the time has never been better to provide another reason for people to visit our great region,” he said.
“This amazing statue will be one of the most recognisable bronzes in the world.
“Warracknabeal will be forever linked to what will be the most exciting new bronze of a world-renowned artist, anywhere.”
Mr Loy said since the campaign launch, the statue project had also been subject to criticism.
“The general community reaction is either love it or hate it,” he said.
“It’s a mixed bag of feedback in Warracknabeal and also the Cave fan base.
“The fans and the Warrack locals are not too far apart in their scepticism.
“It will only be once it is up that they will see its benefits.”
The old Warracknabeal Court House is the arts council’s preferred location for the statue.
The entire April 14, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!