DRAMATIC, large stones offer a contemporary take on Aboriginal culture, soon for all to explore in the North Gardens.
Murrup Laarr is the first installation in what will be an indigenous sculpture park is set to open on Saturday evening with a corroboree that part inspired it.
Ballarat artist and Wathaurong woman Deanne Gilson said her work was far exceeding her expectations as it neared completion.
A traditional-style hut, pieced together by stonemason Andy Sutherland, will be painted inside with ochre on Wednesday and feature hand prints from four generations of Ms Gilson's family.
The hut is constructed with river mud stone, rather than basalt and bark, to stand safe and strong for longevity.
This sits in the middle of a stone circle. The largest star-shaped rock reaches out like a big hand carrying the Southern Cross. This stone, almost 250 centimetres tall but half-buried, was the starting point for Ms Gilson in setting out the stone circle.
A top coat of landscaping is scheduled to be finished by Wednesday, as Ms Gilson works to work symbols into the rocks to tell stories of the stars, moon and astrology from her ancestors.
"The use of stones was a place of ceremony. Rocks retain memories of the past and memories of our ancestors," Ms Gilson said.
"I hope people come and have a look at how Aboriginal people lived and evolved.
"This is a contemporary artwork for continuation of culture."
The work also draws on a stone circle corroboree point at Lake Wendouree, near Loreto College, in the mid-1800s. This week's opening ceremony will also have spiritual significance coming off the back off a full moon.
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh, who inspected the site on Tuesday morning, said the sculpture opening was also particularly fitting in promoting cultural diversity awareness.
The city's Harmony Fest, which includes World Harmony Day on Thursday, comes on the back of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
"It's such an important time for us as a council to make sure we do share the strong message of inter-cultural appreciation," Cr McIntosh said.
Stones can be found in lots of cultures for memorials and places of reflection. Ms Gilson hoped her sculpture would offer people a place of calm and peace as they wandered through.
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Our diversity as a city is something we're really proud of. This sculpture is a true testament to the great work our indigenous community is doing to share their stories with us, so we can learn from and better understand them.Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh