Glen Innes sculpture: The story behind the 'Blue Hills' sculpture installed on the highway roundabout

The recent installation of the contemporary sculpture at a junction of the New England and Gwydir highways has generated a lot of discussion.

There have also been questions from the local community regarding the sculpture and what inspired it.

"Public art is supposed to create conversation, which 'Blue Hills' certainly is," Executive Director of Arts North West Caroline Downer said.

The sculpture was designed by Walcha-based creator James Rogers, a renowned sculptor who studied the artform at the former Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education before living, working and regularly exhibiting works at Sculptures by the Sea in Sydney.

Arts North West interviewed the creator, who said: "The artwork is an abstract, painted steel construction composed of 52 hand-cut, long, curved strips of steel and accompanied bridging elements."

Despite its apparent simplicity, James said 'Blue Hills' took on its own life during its creation.

"This installation puts us on the map as possessing the most intriguing roundabout on the New England Highway and has met all relevant approvals including Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) requirements," Mayor Carol Sparks said.

James said he composed the work over five months in Walcha, accumulating groups of the steel slivers into loose-leaning bunches that connect at the foot and the top, into a generally circular form.

"I work alone and with a small forklift as my assistant. I felt very close in answering the sculpture's physical demands as the work unfolded," he said.

"I see the work as a composition of long shadows.

"The tonality of distance is blue and the silence of the Tablelands, so blue; but on closer experience the blue is itself a composition of forms, an interplay across a space of light and shadow, of form and void".

'Blue Hills' is one of those artworks that will really grow on people, Ms Downer said.

"The sculpture adds some contemporary culture to counteract the visual backdrop of fast food outlets."

"'Blue Hills' is a stunning destination piece that I think people will travel to see."

Cr Sparks said landscaping around the artwork hadn't been finished and the council's Open Space committee would be meeting to discuss the gardening selections soon.

"For those who wish to have a opportunity to help decide what the next sculpture will be join committees in our town and come to the AGM on the 22 July, 12:30 at the community center in Glen Innes.

"Everybody is welcome to come and be apart of the decision making process of beautifying our town," she said.