AN emerging Venus Bay sculptor will become an Artist in Residence at the State's largest cemetery, Centennial Park, as part of the 2015 South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA).
From August 10, artist Ruth Gregor will conduct an interactive sculpture exhibition where members of the public will have the opportunity to see her create a life-sized sculptural piece onsite at Centennial Park.
Weighing more than 5 tonnes and standing at about 1.8 metres high, the sculpture will symbolise the 'cycle of life' through a series of carvings depicting natural elements such as eucalyptus leaves, flowers, empty gumnuts and a single flame.
Crafted in Centennial Park's Weeping Rose memorial garden, Ms Gregor will create a body of work that explores the themes of life including the stages and continuity of life, celebration and joy of life, and memory and remembrance of life.
Ms Gregor said she was honoured to have her design chosen and applied for the residency after the 'Sculptures in Making' event at Macclesfield this year.
"I was one of 12 sculptors who were involved at Macclesfield and the chance to be involved was opened up to all of us after the original sculptor pulled out," Ms Gregor said.
"I was so honoured to have my design chosen and I am ready to get started on this wonderful project," she said.
"Being from an isolated community, it's great to have the exposure of such a large event."
The up and coming artist's inspiration is derived from her unique living surroundings and said she chose the eucalyptus leaf as her design because all Australians could identify with the iconic plant.
"In Venus Bay I'm surrounded by vistas of land and sea, and constantly changing light and weather.
"Around me I see plants which have evolved in the harsh coastal conditions; wild creatures which take every advantage available to them to survive here; and people with a long history of resourcefulness and resilience.
"The eucalyptus is part if the Australian identity and when you are buried here at Centennial Park you are buried in Australian soil," she said.
Working with the challenges of stone is Ms Gregor's passion and she is ready for the new challenges arising from working outdoors in an open space.
"I am hoping the weather is kind to me because wind and rain will definitely bring challenges," she said.
"I find working with stone very satisfying - its variations in texture and colour, the sounds it makes, and the way it makes you slow down, simplify things and think about what you are doing.
"It can be unforgiving and even dangerous, but it gives successful work a still and ageless quality, while impelling the viewer to reach out and touch."
Centennial Park chief executive officer Bryan Elliott said Centennial Park was the first cemetery to host an Artist in Residence in South Australia.
"Centennial Park is delighted to be partnering with the SALA Festival for the second time in 2015," Mr Elliott said.
"We are pleased to welcome our Artist in Residence Ruth Gregor who will carry out an interactive sculpture exhibition right here in the middle of the cemetery.
"This is a unique opportunity for visitors to not only view what will be an exceptional piece of artwork, but to witness a gifted up-and-coming artist working in her creative element," he said.
Members of the public can view Ms Gregor creating Cycle of Life at the front entrance of Centennial Park's Jubilee Complex from Monday, August 10 until mid September on selected days between 10am and 2pm.