By Robbie Rowlands
Sculptural site intervention, church and hall
The Offering was a temporary art installation created by Robbie Rowlands in a single story weatherboard church and community hall.
The church was officially opened in August 1904. In this same month – 105 years later – Rowlands’ arts intervention took place.
The artwork was produced using only the materials contained within the church's walls to create a visually powerful site specific installation.
It revealed the history of the site through exposed layers and sculptural forms that peel and bend the inner surfaces of the building.
The Offering was open for two weeks prior to the site being demolished, to enable construction of the George Street Bridge.
The Offering provided the community the opportunity to experience for the final time a church and community hall that has housed local meetings and prayer for some 105 years.
The Offering created a bridge between removing structures from the landscape and building them back up again. It provided an opportunity for the community to witness change, and to share their own personal memories of times in important and historic spaces.
This project was a marriage between the practice of an artist who seeks rare opportunities to work with pre-demolition sites, and organisations who recognise that within the context of urban renewal, there is an obligation to honour, reflect, discuss and record the things that are being lost in the process of change.
Rowlands work was made all the more poignant as the timber floors had already been removed in anticipation of the demolition, leaving only the supporting stumps and bare earth.
“The bare earth presented an ideal opportunity for this work and the community to consider the raw landscape. With the buildings removed we are invited to consider if the land alone can retain a kind of memory or is it just defined by the structures we build," Robbie Rowlands, artist.