Brightening Southbank with a new public art installation by Troy Emery at Melbourne Square

Brightening Southbank with a new public art installation by Troy Emery at Melbourne Square

Artist Impression: Troy Emery 'Guardian Lion'. Courtesy the artist.

Artist Impression: Troy Emery 'Guardian Lion'. Courtesy the artist.

Winning Artist

Artist Impression: Troy Emery 'Guardian Lion'. Courtesy the artist.

OSK Property is proud to announce award-winning local artist Troy Emery as the winner of its art competition to design a new sculptural landmark at Melbourne Square, Southbank.

The brief was to design a visual gateway, which will connect Melbourne Square with its neighbouring arts precinct through a large-scale and visually striking sculptural artwork.

Global art firm UAP (Urban Art Projects) – who OSK Property engaged as public art consultants for Melbourne Square – has overseen the entire competition process, beginning with UAP’s curatorial team defining a detailed Curatorial Vision titled ‘Together, in Nature’. The artwork will also be manufactured in its Brisbane workshop and installed at the end of this year.

Emery’s winning concept, ‘Guardian Lion’, draws inspiration from traditional Chinese architecture and Japanese symbolism, whereby lions and dogs guard the entrances to shrines and signify strength. Similarly, ‘Guardian Lion’ is seen to guard the grounds and people within Southbank, standing as a protector welcoming people to the city, akin to Richmond’s beloved Vinegar Skipping girl who has graced the skies of Victoria Street for generations of Melburnians to enjoy.

Emery drew on Victorian folklore to embed the piece with Australian context, specifically referencing a Melburnian story of the ‘Grampians big cat’ – a mythical big cat living in the Grampians Mountains of regional Victoria.

“I want Guardian Lion to make people happy, to give people a sense of companionship as they travel through the area, like a friendly neighbourhood cat that greets passers-by. Guardian Lion is a surrogate pet for the neighbourhood and for the city.”

“One part of the brief that I particularly resonated with was the idea that Melbourne Square is a ‘gateway to the creative precinct.’ The NGV, Arts Centre, VCA, ACCA, and Malthouse Theatre are all close neighbours, and the work’s location is a gateway to the CBD, so I set out to design a figure that will welcome people to the area.”

“The intense spectrum of colour in the work not only is an antidote to the greys and browns of the cityscape but serves to reiterate the fantastical spectrum of the natural world, where the intense colours represent the magical qualities of life on earth.”

Measuring 15.4m (h) x 18.7m (w) x 0.3m (d), Guardian Lion’s laser cut aluminium fixture with LED flex lighting demonstrates an intense spectrum of colour that will be unmissable from those entering the city from the south or passing by on the Westgate Freeway.

Chong Boon Woon, OSK Property Australia’s CEO, says, “The team behind Melbourne Square is looking forward to creating a visual link between the project and the neighbouring arts precinct, as well as creating a Melbourne landmark to welcome visitors to the CBD.”

“We are deeply inspired by the power of public art to transform spaces and communities. Our decision to commission ‘Guardian Lion’ for Melbourne Square is underpinned by our desire to contribute a long-lasting and meaningful piece to the vibrant cultural tapestry of Southbank. We are immensely proud to enrich the cityscape with this public art installation and hope it becomes a beloved landmark and source of joy for the residents, community and visitors alike,” Chong Boon said.