Fiona Foley (1964 - ), Mangrove Cap

Artist: Fiona Foley 1964-

Title: Mangrove Cap

Date: 2009

Medium: Weathered Corten steel, solar-powered LED lights

Artspace Mackay, Queensland, Australia

EMu user since 2012


Fiona Foley (1964 - ), Mangrove CapFiona Foley is one of Australia’s most experienced public art makers and this work, Mangrove Cap, is one of a series of six commissioned for Mackay in 2008, the year of the Apology to the Stolen Generations from the Australian Government. These works are prominent in Mackay, visible along the riverfront and to pedestrian and vehicular traffic in Mackay’s CBD.

Fiona Foley has personal and family memories and traditions that revolve around the mangrove. She said in 2010, “While living at Booral, Hervey Bay, my extended family would go out on to the mud flats and hunt and gather oysters, periwinkles and mud crabs. For me it was a treasure trove – I’d collect flotsam and jetsam washed up from high tides. I’d bring home turtle bones, dugong bones and various parts of mangrove seed-pods. I am not a deeply religious person but when I first stood under the Mangrove Cap on the current site in Mackay, I felt like I was in church.”

The monumental Mangrove Cap (some nine metres tall) sits beside the Pioneer River in an open grassy landscape. The health of our rivers, fish and environment is nurtured by the quality of our mangrove stocks, and in creating this giant statement, in steel designed to visibly age in the salty environment, and giving it an other-worldly starry ambience by using solar-powered lights which glow through and beneath the cap in pricks of light, Foley extends the natural phenomena of the mangrove in the public imagination.


Adapted from an essay by Louise Martin-Chew, www.louisemartinchew.com