This object is a sculpture entitled “Bear Mountain” by Guy Fredericks, which became a permanent exhibit in the Art Gallery of NSW in 2026.
The artist explained that when he visited a bushfire-affected area, he saw luminescent pyrophytic grass that lies dormant in the soil. It only comes alive with the intense heat of a bushfire and provides cover for seeds that need more time to grow. He likened this to what happened after the Covid-19 pandemic, when people woke from their hibernation and provided protection for new leaders to emerge. And indeed they did.
By the end of the decade, Australia was the global leader in regenerative agriculture. The education system was reinvigorated by teachers who championed diversity of abilities. There were even some big technological leaps, with Australia being the first country to sustainably produce a solar-powered flying car.
In 2046, when reflecting on this work, Fredericks said: “the bear is my favourite animal, and when creating this work, I felt it holding the weight of the world on its shoulders. I am so glad that the small changes we implemented grew bigger over the years and the Earth now has a chance to regrow and regenerate.”
Guy Fredericks is a studio A artist who works mainly in painting, pastel, animation and paper sculpture. He makes art about what he is passionate about: animals, plants, sustainability and the natural world. They are the world seen through his own lens; full of feeling, meaning and awkward beauty. He has been a part of many exhibitions at Peacock Gallery, Auburn, Sub Base Platypus, North Sydney and Sydney Contemporary. He has also produced commissions for Liberty Speciality Markets, Art Month, Brand X and props for film director Thomas Avery.
Groundwork has begun on Guy Fredericks' artwork for the Pandemic Pivots project!
After considering the feedback received from our community regarding what the future may hold, Guy has developed a concept shaped around the body of a resting bear.
Using paper mache to sculpt his design, a technique Guy is known for, he will construct a tree growing off the back of a resting bear. The bear acts as a symbol signifying the sleeping or hibernating earth and the tree represents hope, renewal, regrowth and regeneration.
As the work develops over the coming weeks we will share more details and insights into the artmaking process! We can't wait to see how this work unfolds.
Week two and the bear has taken shape!
With armature wire and paper, Guy has created the resting bear base of his sculpture.
The next step is forming the tree with the root system anchored to the bear's back. From the ficus genus, Guy has chosen the mighty fig tree for their vigorous growth, strength and longevity.