A new living artwork featuring bottle trees and natural sandstone has been unveiled in Sydney’s Green Square. The idea behind the artwork is that it will grow with the expanding Green Square community and allow people of all ages to interact with the work.

While I Live I Will Grow by Maria Fernanda Cardoso was unveiled at the former Royal South Sydney Hospital site as part of the launch of the $32 million Green Square community and cultural precinct. It is one of four works commissioned by the City of Sydney for Green Square’s current and future communities. 

“This is a beautiful, living artwork that will grow with the Green Square community,” says Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“The artwork is situated alongside our new early education centre to be enjoyed by local children and their parents, artists working in the cultural centre and residents living nearby.”

Based in Sydney, the Colombian-born artist is known for her unconventional use of materials and takes inspiration from nature.

“I wanted to make an artwork that will become better and better in years to come, instead of deteriorating and decaying over time,” says Cardoso.

“Bottle trees can live over 100 years and reach four metres in diameter. We’ve planted seven bottle trees and 13 grass trees, which can live several hundreds of years. This artwork celebrates the trees’ unusual and charismatic shapes as they grow and provides meaning for people to reflect on – art and life, form and content.

“The Sydney sandstone blocks allowed me to give more meaning to the piece by symbolising growth in a spiral form. To emphasise the idea of growth over time, I stacked another layer of giant stone blocks to create a double spiral. Made in heights that people can sit on, the double spiral forms an amphitheatre to observe the growth of the trees for at least the next 100 years.”

The community and cultural precinct sits within the 278-hectare Green Square development area, which includes the suburbs of Beaconsfield and Zetland, and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo.

The City is spending $540 million over the next 10 years on extensive infrastructure and streetscaping throughout the area, as well as new community facilities that also include a library and plaza, aquatic and recreation centre and more than 15 parks and open spaces.