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'Cultural Carvings'

Northern Beaches Council, 2018

'Cultural Carvings' is a monolithic installation that takes it cues from the arrivals of migrant people from around the Globe who call Dee Why home.

Dee Why hosts a happy multi-cultural community – each with their own histories and their own memories and cultures.


During meetings that the artist – David Cianci – had with a number of people from these communities, it quickly became apparent they shared a common touchstone – water. People from island communities grew up surrounded by the ocean. It was a part of their daily lives. They have a spiritual connection to the sea that deeply connects them with their vision of themselves and their deepest sense of being.

Communities from mountainous regions know all too well the power and majesty of water – how mountain streams and raging water filled gorges shape their lives and communities. Those from drier countries have experienced the pain and suffering that follows nature’s whimsy – where rains are withheld and the crops wither and die. Water is life. Water is precious.


Here in Dee Why, these people have found a welcoming community. It has given them new life. They may have come to study. They may have come to build a new life – free of the troubles that beset their native homes. Others sought reunion with family who had made the southward journey years before. And there are the people who simply visited and fell in love with what they found.


For all these people, Dee Why provides differing echoes of home through the touch, sights and sounds of water – that abounds so powerfully in the Pacific Ocean – and more gently in nearby lagoons and national park streams.

Cultural Carvings follows a path towards a radial design that suggests a point of arrival. The great sandstone blocks are the vessels of arrival. Their geology can be likened to time travel where under immense pressure and primordial crustal movements they at last emerge in this place of clean air, sweet rain and sunshine. Symbolically, they trace the watery paths of journey that all Australians or their ancestors have taken to reach this land.

The blocks are incised with tracery and patterns. These are not intended to be literal – but provide the triggers for interpretative thought and linkages to personal experience. Enigmatic words and phrases also incised into the blocks will enrich the musings. The arrangement of the blocks also suggests flows – of the water that binds us all and binds our new arrivals to this welcoming place.

Project Details


Northern Beaches Council

Project Scope

Public Art Curation

Targeted Community Engagement

Concept Design

Detailed Design


Project Oversee

Project Team

Manufacture: Gosford Quarries

Installation: Landscape Solutions

Landscape Architect: Tract Consultants

Landscape Contractor: Landscape Solutions

Northern Beaches Council


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