Syrian artist Usama Alnassar with Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham at the Theatre of Trees installation on Byron Bay’s beachfront.
Syrian artist Usama Alnassar with Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham at the Theatre of Trees installation on Byron Bay’s beachfront.

artsCape exhibit is here to stay

The artsCape exhibit, ‘Theatre of Trees’ by Syrian artist Usama Alnassar, is to become a permanent fixture at Byron Bay.


Byron Council last week accepted the gift offer by the artist and the work will remain in place on the beachfront for the time being with the council to make a decision later on its final home.


Usama’s installation is based on the ruin of a Roman amphitheatre in Bosra where he was raised in Syria.


As a child, he came to identify strongly with the countless beautiful stone ruins he was surrounded by. Only discovered and excavated in the past 50 years, the amphitheatre is unique, aesthetically and acoustically, and Pavarotti chose to sing there.


Usama eventually moved to Italy to develop his skill as a marble sculptor. But not just any marble – the famous white Carrara marble used for classic Italian Rennaisance sculptures such as Michaelangelo’s ‘David’.


 On his property and working out of Michaelangelo’s quarry in Carrara, Usama is creating a contemporary interpretation of Theatre of Trees in marble, where he, too, has musical performances.


“It is about engagement and interaction,” Usama said.


“This is not about just a visually dynamic artwork to look at. I want people to walk in, to sit, and to interact with the installation.”


‘Theatre of Trees’ is one of almost 70 sculptures from local, international and Australian artists at the artsCape exhibition, which continues until Sunday.


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