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John Kelly wants Hortus moved

29 Jun 2017

John Kelly wants Hortus moved Image

Creator of the iconic “Cow up a Tree” sculpture, John Kelly, wants the Hortus cafe to be moved because it is blocking his artwork.

Mr Kelly said the greenhouse covered with a tent, with the bins and street furniture around it, gave an unsightly view to Harbour Esplanade.

“The cafe is in the way when people take photographs. Water is integral to Cow up a Tree and the cafe blocks it,” he said.

“It’s a lack of respect for a sculpture that has made a huge contribution to Docklands. It looks very tatty.”

“To put a commercial business in the shadow of the sculpture is disappointing,” he said. “It has killed my sculpture.”

Mr Kelly said he had been talking with Development Victoria for months and had not yet reached a resolution.

He wants the tent to be moved 50 metres to the south so Cow up a Tree can be viewed better from different angles.

“I think it’s great that the cafe and the sculpture have become a meeting place in Docklands,” Mr Kelly said. “I want the sculpture and the cafe to mutually exist in their respective space.”

Mr Kelly said Harbour Esplanade had potential to receive more attraction and put Docklands on the map.

“It can be a wonderful opportunity for Docklands to have more artworks. There was nothing here when Cow up a Tree was first put up,

“So much money has been put into reviving the precinct and it can just take a little time and effort to respect an artwork that has contributed to the liveability here,” Mr Kelly said.

Development Victoria’s chief executive, Gregory Anderson, said: “The sculpture is right on the waterfront and remains highly visible. The cafe has encouraged more visitors to the area and in turn to the sculpture.”

“Public art and pop-up activations are key components of place making in all great cities,” Mr Anderson said.

Hortus was constructed as a temporary activation for the esplanade.

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