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Sculpture combining the wisdom of age and wonder of youth

A new sculpture next to a garden bench in Adelaide, commissioned by local aged and community care provider Resthaven, invites passers-by to sit for a moment underneath the trees, and watch the world go by, alongside the sculpted characters.

Artist Gerry McMahon with his parents and daughters alongside the sculpture
Artist Gerry McMahon with his parents and daughters alongside the sculpture

The public artwork, located on the corner of Greenhill Road and Bartley Crescent in Wayville, was celebrated this week, as Resthaven Board President, Mark Porter unveiled the plaque.

“The sculpture is Resthaven’s gift to the local community,” says Resthaven chief executive officer (CEO), Richard Hearn. “It is made entirely from sheet metal, and depicts a life-sized scene of intergenerational engagement.”

It is the third such sculpture Resthaven has commissioned local artist, Gerry McMahon, to create.

“Two similar intergenerational sculptures are located at Resthaven Mount Gambier (opened 2011) and Resthaven Port Elliot (opened 2015),” Mr Hearn explains.

“We love Gerry’s work, and were excited to commission our third, and most detailed, sculpture yet.”

The artist used his own elderly parents and children as models in the process of developing the characters of the sculpture. “I feel there is a real connection between the old and the young,” he says.

The sculpture has relevance to the previous use of the site which was part of Annesley College

“From my own experience, I have a direct understanding of caring for an older person, and gained a direct understanding and consideration of the important work of carers when my father was hospitalised due to a fall.

Mr McMahon explains the sculpture also celebrates the work of carers - through little things, like a love heart in the carer’s head band to indicate the care given.

“I wanted to give a sense of love in the project, with a connection between each of the characters, playing hopscotch, reading a book, and referencing items from the area, such as the tennis racquet to the parklands opposite, where tennis is played.”

Mr Hearn says: “The themes Gerry has portrayed in this work perfectly align with Resthaven’s own values of trust, dignity and choice.

“We wanted the work to convey the importance of the roles of older people, and what they give back to society, along with the significant work that carers do to make those needing support in their later years more comfortable.

“The project’s intergenerational theme has relevance to the previous use of the site, which was formerly part of Annesley College. It reflects the work of the school, educating generations of young women,” Mr Hearn adds.

“Gerry’s sculptures always generate much admiration and interest within Resthaven and the community, and this is no exception.”

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