There are all types of public art you can find in your travels in South Australia from wall murals, to huge, impressive, silo paintings and colourful mosaics. Unknowingly I have been finding mosaic works by a particular artist over a few years and didn’t know they were by the same person until I looked into my latest find at Clayton Bay.
Recently we happened across a lookout area at Clayton Bay, a small town on the shore of Lake Alexandrina. The spot is called Jones’ Lookout and is where a water tower once stood on the clifftop. All that was left of the tower was its circular footprint which now has a mosaic in its place.
The mosaic is a compass made of intersecting ripples of mostly blue tiles, with the colours at the north point depicting sunset on the water. Each of the compass points names a key location in the direction and their distances from Clayton Bay. Around the mosaic is a stone wall and swamp hen footprints made in the concrete, and from the platform you can take in views of the lake and lower Murray River.
When I found out more about the mosaic and the artist I realised that I had seen quite a few of his other works. The artists name is Michael Tye, he is based in Goolwa and has created a number of these mosaic artworks around South Australia. Some of them have been community art projects where participants worked together to hand cut tiles, making something beautiful to add to the community to tell a story of their region. One of these projects is at Coonalpyn near the painted silos. The mosaic was created in conjunction with local artist, Marcia Camac and a group of local volunteers and when completed it took five days to install this brilliant piece. There are a number of art installations in Coonalpyn worth stopping to see if you’re passing through.
More of Michael Tye’s mosaic creations can be found in Goolwa, at the Alexandrina Council office and library building and in Jekejere Park. The wall mosaic at the council building depicts a pelican flying over the South Lakes and is made from hand-cut, glazed ceramic floor tiles and in Jekejere Park is another circular mosaic, this one depicting three aspects of Ngarrindjeri weaving. One picture depicts a group of women weaving, another harvesting reeds and the background is the actual weaving pattern. The mosaic is in a clearing in the park, a meeting place which is surrounded by a curved straw bale wall.
There are quite a few more of his mosaic artworks around the state which I will add to this list when I find them in my travels.