Bowden Park is now officially on the map thanks to local artist Heidi Kenyon.
Heidi has crafted a new sign for the much-loved recreation space, that speaks to Bowden’s Indigenous flora and industrial heritage.
Local, independent gallery, Praxis ARTSPACE, were engaged to assist Renewal SA in finding the right artist for this important project. Through their support, Heidi emerged. She has designed and fabricated an eye-catching installation that now officially welcomes visitors to this community landmark.
Heidi resides in the heart of Bowden and works out of Praxis ARTSPACE studios, so is ideally placed to tell the story of her neighbourhood through visual art and communications. We’re thrilled that the Bowden Park sign is to be Heidi’s first permanent public art installation and builds upon her primarily exhibition-based practice.
“The piece evolved over time as I considered the history and emerging transformation of Bowden,” says Heidi. She was determined to keep the piece simple while encapsulating Bowden’s history and came up with multiple concepts and cardboard mock-ups in order to refine her vision.
“I have utilised laser-cut imagery that draws on human-made and natural elements to capture both Bowden’s cultural past and the idea of greening or ‘rewilding’ of this former industrial space.”
The sign abstracts a drawing of a River Red Gum leaf, then uses its typography and materials—such as powder-coated steel and copper— as a contrast, to reference the site’s previous role in manufacturing and electrical fabrication.
“The organic vein structure of the leaves creep across the lettering to create a striking distinction between the clean geometry of the modern lettering. I also want it to appear as though the park is ‘growing’ across the sign,” Heidi says.
“Red River Gums are native to the Adelaide Plains— Kaurna land—and are known for their medicinal, therapeutic and cultural properties. The typography I have used is in keeping with font styles that were common in the 1920s and 1930s and in this respect, pays homage to the former Gerard & Goodman ‘Clipsal’ building on Park Terrace.”
As part of the creative process, Heidi had to consider where the sign would be located and how it would be seen from various angles from within the park. With this in mind, her finished design offers a range of sculptural experiences when viewed from multiple locations and under different light settings.
“I envisaged a vertical, human-scale sign that would have a high impact and be visually engaging—acting as a beacon for the park,” says Heidi.
The final design won’t remain static, though. The choice of copper material pays tribute to the copper that was used in electrical wiring when Bowden was a thriving industrial hub, but also has an additional explanation.
“Oxidised copper forms the centre of the structure, which is a sustainable material with the unique ability to generate verdigris, a bright bluish-green layer,” Heidi says. “Over time, the colourisation of the sign will change, reflecting the continual evolution and ‘greening’ of Bowden as a neighbourhood.”
At night the sign will be lit up from the centre, casting shadows of flora on the surrounding paving and revealing yet another layer of meaning for passers-by to appreciate and admire.
The new Bowden Park sign was installed in September, with the help of Iguana Creative.
Heidi is a mum of two, who also works as an Artistic Program Officer at Guildhouse. The not-for-profit organisation supports visual artists, craftspeople and designers to build and maintain sustainable careers.
We love this new addition to Bowden Park and can’t wait to see it develop with our ever-evolving suburb.
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