NATURAL BEAUTY: Toowoomba sculptor Joy Heylen looks over her desert workspace, close to Egyptian city Sharm El-Sheikh.
NATURAL BEAUTY: Toowoomba sculptor Joy Heylen looks over her desert workspace, close to Egyptian city Sharm El-Sheikh.

Toowoomba sculptor puts heart into Egyptian terror memorial

IT'S not every day your workspace is the Egyptian desert.

However, for the last month this has been the reality for Toowoomba sculptor Joy Heylen, the creative director of the Grand Central Floral Parade, who was one of 75 international sculptors selected to attend an artistic symposium near Sharm El Sheikh.

The team was tasked with creating a visual memorial for the terrorism victims of the seaside resort, after 34 people were killed in a 2004 bomb attack.

The title of the exhibition was "Reviving Humanity," and all sculptors asked to make a piece resembling a heart.

The Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, helped to open the installation on November 4.

"Egypt seemed so enchanted and far away - so it was unreal to be selected," Ms Heylen said.

"Our work space was an open expanse in the desert, it became like a mini city for three weeks while we all worked there.

Ms Heylen made her heart piece out of 400 metres of copper wire.

"We each had to create our own heart - which I think was a great concept," Ms Heylen said.

"Each one of us was asked to represent our own country.

"It was to remind us that we are no different to one another, our hearts all beat the same."

She said the trip piqued her interest in the Middle East.

"I could have stayed there a lot longer," she said.

"The culture is so intriguing. It's the first time I've been to the Middle East but I would love to travel there more now."

Ms Heylen is now planning to meet the Egyptian ambassador for Australia to create an exhibition for the embassy.



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