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Tatura Christmas sculpture defended

Like it or loathe it, Tatura’s Christmas tree ‘sculpture’ in Stuart Mock Place has created much comment throughout the community since it was installed some weeks ago.

BOB NICOL December 18, 2013 9:00am

Brought to life: Primary school students, armed with cans of spray paint, have turned Tatura’s ‘Eyesaurus’ into a ‘Joyasaurus’.

And while most people see it as part of the Tatura Christmas Decoration Project group’s theme of using re-cycled and up-cycled products to create this year’s decorations, others are not so sure.

Made from old tyres, the sculpture prompted one resident to submit a letter to the editor to the Guardian which appears on page 7 of this week’s paper.

The writer started his letter by saying he would ‘‘like to express my deep disappointment at the way Transition Tatura has hijacked a centuries-old tradition to express their views on re-cycling’’.

What must be realised is that the decorations around town have been created over the past few months by a hard-working group of volunteers, including members of Tatura Men’s Shed, who volunteered time and effort to make up many of the items that adorn Hogan St.

Tatura Christmas Decoration Group has endeavoured to produce, and succeeded in most cases, to brighten up Tatura for the festive season, not by rushing out and buying expensive Christmas decorations, but by creating their own from recycled products.

However, when it comes to threats and abuse, then that is taking it too far.

The volunteers, who spent hundreds of hours of their own time on what they considered, along with most people, to be a worthwhile community project, deserve better.

One volunteer said last week that she was ‘‘abused at length’’ by a lady on the phone over the sculpture.

‘‘I also got abused on Facebook about it,’’ the volunteer said.

‘‘I guess when you do something for the community you put yourself out there. Anyway it seems a shame. If people knew all the hours that went into all of it (decorations), and the stress of having all the stuff stolen, maybe they would be kinder.

‘‘I can understand it might not be everyone’s taste. A number of ladies from Tatura who work in Shepparton told me how much they loved it, so there has been some nice comments.’’

Other group members spoken to have also expressed disappointment at some of the negative comments, after all the work that has gone into the project.

While it is too early to say if the sculpture will be resurrected next year, maybe in a painted format, it should be remembered that 2013 was the group’s first effort at decorating the town, and like most first-time projects, there will always be teething problems.

The bottom line is, this group of volunteers did their best to bring something unique to Tatura, presenting a Christmas spirit not seen in other towns, and should be commended for that, not condemned.

Alex Carter from the Tatura Men’s Shed, who with help from several men’s shed members cut the tyres and assembled the sculpture ‘Treemendousaurus’, said they received a phone call from a rather disgruntled resident offering negative comments about the tree.

Mr Carter said it was a pity the detractors don’t get the recycle/reuse message which was the brief to create a tree sculpture as part of this year’s Christmas decoration program.

‘Treemendousaurus’, like the ‘Yellow Peril’ and more recently the ‘Wire Christmas Tree at Monbulk’ has certainly got some communication happening in the Tatura,’’ he said.

‘‘I have heard a mixture of both positive and negative; art often creates controversy, no one is compelled to like it, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

‘‘I believe a tremendous effort has been put in by a small group of local, dedicated crafty and arty people to decorate the main street shop windows with a difference using only recycled, up-cycled, pre-loved, pre-used, re-purposed, rescued and non-manufactured (homemade) items.

‘‘Treemendousaurus is only one part of a huge effort put in by a small band of people and school children trying to put Tatura out there at this festive time of year.

‘‘What does our community think of all the other decorations put up in the town?

Mr Carter acknowledges ‘‘perhaps we did not get everything right this year first time around’’.

‘‘Please tell us what needs to be done to get it right, if you don’t like something tell us what we need to do to improve it,’’ he said.

‘‘Better still, come join the group and put your ideas into practice and make a difference.’’

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