The ‘Bird in Hand’ sculpture is the latest installation to be unveiled along Forbes’ Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail.
The phrase ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ is the inspiration behind the latest sculpture
to be unveiled as part of Sculpture Down the Lachlan (SDL) extension.
‘Bird in Hand’ by Gold Coast sculptor Michael ‘Mike’ Van Dam represents the profound responsibility
of environmental preservation, sustainability and development bestowed upon humans.
“This sculpture reminds viewers that we need to preserve and protect this important environment and its future state, such as native birds and all fauna, are in our hands,” Mike said.
“This piece was made from 1600 meters of 10mm, 316 marine grade, stainless steel chain, with 38
links per meter and 4 welds per link. This equates to just over 243,000 welds and took eight months
The 6.5 metre, 3.5 tonne piece depicting a hyper-realistic hand cradling a great white egret, was
unveiled today at Straneys Bridge on the corner of the Lachlan Valley Way and Hodges Road, 37
kilometres from Forbes towards Condobolin.
‘Bird in Hand’ is the third sculpture to be commissioned as part of the ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley
Economy Art Project’ and becomes the 14th sculpture featured along the SDL trail from Forbes to
Chair of the Forbes Arts Society (FAS) Dr Karen Ritchie said, “like much of Mike’s other work, ‘Bird in
the Hand’ sends a strong message about responsible conservation of our natural environment”.
“Positioning this beautiful sculpture in nature as part of SDL enhances this message and supports the
values of FAS to celebrate and showcase our unique natural environment through art and culture.”
Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Phyllis Miller OAM said “we are so excited to launch the latest sculpture
in the trail”.
“It is beautifully made and its message will resonate with our locals, that’s for sure. Protection of our
natural assets is something I am passionate about, not only for the preservation of our beautiful
waterways and landscapes but they are also our part of our unique tourist attraction strategy. Forbes
is surrounded by beautiful landscapes in which we need to protect for our future generations.”
The ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ is proudly funded by the NSW Government’s
Restart NSW program through the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund,
the Forbes Arts Society, Forbes Shire Council, Lachlan Shire Council and Evolution Mining.
The project aims to foster visual arts throughout the Forbes Shire, grow the visitor economy and
promote the Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination.
NSW Upper House MP Sam Farraway said the sculpture will provide yet another reason for tourists to
flock to the Lachlan Valley.
“This sculpture is the latest instalment of a series of artistic incentives for visitors to return to the
region, putting valuable tourism dollars into the pockets of locals and putting Lachlan Valley on the
map as a world-class tourism destination,” Mr Farraway said.
“The NSW Nationals are building a safer, stronger regional NSW and this sculpture project is a prime
example of the way we are providing community infrastructure that creates jobs and encourages
The $7 million ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ also includes the construction of a
new cultural and arts centre on the corner of Lachlan and Church Street (former Forbes & District
Ambulance Station) and the Gum Swamp redevelopment.
For more information about the project, visit www.forbesartssociety.com
Image (L to R) – Forbes Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Jenny Webb, Michael ‘Mike’ van Dam, and Forbes Arts Society’s Keith Mullette.