I AM Sculpture Calls Drysdale Home for 12 Months

I AM Sculpture Calls Drysdale Home for 12 Months Main Image

08 November 2023

The Drysdale community has welcomed the installation of the relocatable I AM sculpture to Peninsula Drive, outside the Potato Shed.


The public artwork, at more than two metres tall, celebrates people who have a lived experience with disability and raises of awareness of their experiences. I AM is inspired by political and pop culture statements such as the 1968 Memphis black sanitation workers’ slogan “I AM a man”, and Helen Reddy’s 1971 anthem “I AM woman.”


The statue now sits across from the newly opened North Bellarine Aquatic Centre just in time for summer after being craned in from Pakington Street, where it’s been located since February.


Its current location is especially important as it was at the nearby SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre that the idea for an artwork recognising people living with a disability was dreamed up by the Geelong and Bellarine Peer Action Group from VALiD (Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability).


The City commissioned Mark Cuthbertson with artist-collaborators Robert Croft, Hannah Wilkinson, Christian Den Besten and George Macaronis to develop the large-scale work, receiving more than 85 contributions from the community.

I AM was delivered in partnership with VALiD and Geelong-based ArtGusto, and funded by the Victorian Government through the Community Support Fund.


Mayor Trent Sullivan said the public artwork would stand outside the Potato Shed over the next 12 months.


“I AM needs to be seen to be believed - each letter in the sculpture weighs around four tonnes and is inlaid with text-based works of the contributing community members,” Mayor Sullivan said.


“The statue recognises the empowerment of diversity and gives a voice to people with a lived experience of disability.”


Bellarine Ward Councillor Elise Wilkinson said the interactive installation had previously been installed outside Geelong West Town Hall, at the Geelong Waterfront and in Lara’s Austin Park.


“By being relocatable, I AM is widely accessible to the community and its message is conveyed to a bigger audience,” Cr Wilkinson said.


“The sculpture encourages community members to demonstrate their support for the community by being a part of the work and positioning themselves within or taking photos using the hashtag #IAMGeelong.”


Alison Marchant MP, Member for Bellarine said, “It is incredible to have the I AM sculpture accessible to the Drysdale and wider Bellarine community; near the SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre where the idea for the artwork was created.


“This sculpture represents the important message of celebrating and supporting people with lived experience of disability as well as raising awareness of their experiences and contributions to our community.”