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New Water Themed art for Century City Arts Trail

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Date 15 March 2021

With hundreds of strands of glimmering steelwork, the giant shape of two otters basks in the sunshine. Standing proudly in the middle of the Grand Canal between Canal Walk Shopping Centre and Manhattan Suites, Callum Pickard’s Aonyx (or Pair of Otters) is the latest addition to the Century City Art Trail’s permanent collection. 

Commissioned through a process of Request for Proposals, Callum’s vision was to create a pair of otters perched on the plinth in the middle of the “river”, is made from lightweight steel and delicately blending into the watery landscape as if they are very much part of the surrounding scenery.

“I started with two images of otters that I liked the body language of, and I created a digital outline of each other, from there creating very rough wireframe.” Callum explains. “I used this wireframe as reference to shape round metal bars to replicate the otter outlines. Before I knew it, I was carrying giant sections around my garden just to find an area big enough to connect them to see the bigger picture. Eventually, the sculptures weighed around 300kg altogether!”. It turns out that being an installation artist is not for the faint hearted!  “I was around more metal dust than I have ever been.” says Callum. “Despite my best efforts to spend each day in full protective gear, with respirator, goggles and a helmet, I still found myself visiting the hospital once to have a piece of metal removed from my eye.”

“While the steel isn’t very thick, it’s still steel, and bending by hand all day, every day will take its toll on your body. I often woke up with bruised palms, aching hands, and tight shoulders. This feeling I love!”

Aonyx joins the other 25 artworks in the Century City Arts Trail and will receive its own plaque and number.  The Pair of Otters will be lit up at night, extending their shape across the water of the canal.

Callum is a multidisciplinary artist producing artworks both in his own private capacity, as well as on a contractual basis, together with a variety of teams and organisations, usually relatively large-scale public art installations.  Over the years, he embarked on numerous travels and worked at various of the regional Burning events (such as AfrikaBurn in South Africa and Nowhere in Spain), both by receiving grants to create artworks, and by joining crews that are involved in the construction of these artworks and the infrastructure that goes with them.