Currumbin is awesome. There’s two beaches; the main one’s best for boogieboarding and brunch, and the Alley is best for playing in the shallows, learning to surf, and scrambling amongst the boulders. One day soon the boys will be big enough to climb Currumbin Rock with me too. So much to love!
One sunny day 13 years ago some arty type thought how cool it would be to use this natural beauty to showcase human creativity? and the SWELL Sculpture Festival was born. For 10 days in September the beaches at Currumbin become an open-air, interactive, totally free art gallery! They added mobile wood-fired pizza and Mr Whippy vans and it’s how I want to experience art all the time now. It’s awesome!
(This is going to be a photography post, naturally. The
crappy less gooder ones are off my phone when I went with the kids, and the nicer ones are from when I went back early the next morning with the geewhiz camera to shoot my favourites. Wish I could’ve got them all but there were 55 artworks this year!)
This one is my bestest number one favourite, but the boys and I completely missed it the first day! And I thus missed out on voting for it – d’oh – but it won the Environmental Awareness Award without my help.
Someone’s always forgetting their sunnies at the beach…
This next one, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, was inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft novel of the same name. The artists, Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, are apparently super obsessed with tentacles and like to make inflatable cephalopods that attack public buildings and so on. I saw in the info booklet it contains LEDs… all this and it lights up too!
The next one was interactive, but I couldn’t get the boys to climb on it. Typical; when they’re invited, it’s the last thing they want to do.
The next one the boys were only too happy to interact with as it involved graffitiing something. Volunteers handed out textas and we walked around the installation reading earlier inscriptions and trying to find a bit of space.
Okay boys, just stand at the end and look through…”Mummy, I think we can fit through here…” NO!! NO CLIMBING IN, THIS IS NOT ONE YOU CAN CLIMB ON!
…They didn’t climb in, but I could see they were very sorely tempted and saw it as a bit of a wasted opportunity.
We managed to get the next one to ourselves for a few minutes – the boys loved it, and stood close to the wind-flapped towels, laughing their arses off when they got whapped in the face.
From Natasha Edwards, SWELL Director;
“All sculptures posit an idea, an observation, a truism, an irony, an absurdity, a flight of fancy, a contradiction, an affirmation…”
Many of the works made a statement, and considering the venue, environmentalism was appropriate. The next sculpture represents something that few Australians have ever heard of, let alone seen – the largest tree in Australia, the 400 year old ‘Kermandie Queen’ Mountain Ash near Geeveston in Tasmania. At 21.65m in diameter, this particular tree is protected, but the logging of our old growth forests has resulted in the loss of many equally majestic trees. Queensland has been noted as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ due to its alarmingly high rates of land clearing; last financial year about 275,000 hectares were cleared from Queensland – about triple the rate in 2010.
We reached Currumbin Rock, found more hidden in the boulders and sand dunes, then started the return leg along the foreshore.
While it was very windy it wasn’t *quite* windy enough for that heavy mooring rope to get blown around – a core of steel is holding it in place. The wind was quite helpful with several other works though; the aforementioned nuclear squid… an installation of windmills made from bike wheels… these guys…
The artist used all four elements to create this work.
Another one of my favourites, judging by the fact I took about 2,000 photos.
Here’s one you can try at home! Use some kind of blue knitted basket and lengths of fishing line. Looks awesome and is suitable for hanging anywhere. Trees, doorways, rearview mirrors, earlobes…
Another favourite, made of recycled timber, ‘mild’ steel (more polite than ‘tempered’ steel?) and mirrors. I like how in this photo the mirrored image almost lines up with the background.
And last but not least; in fact the boys’ bestest number one favourite and the one they voted for – Emerging Dragon, by Michael Van Dam. As in, “Van DAM he is GOOD!!”
Well that’s it from SWELL 2015! If you can make it next year you totally should, it’s brilliant. Parking is a bitch though so get here early, preferably on a weekday. If you’re here on a weekend I recommend coughing up $8 for a day’s parking at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary around the corner – it’s only a short walk back to Elephant Rock and the start of the ‘gallery’ from there and you can come and go as you please.
Hope you enjoyed!
If you want to check out SWELL on Instagram, search this year’s hashtag #swell2015
SWELL is free for all to enjoy, but there are also masterclasses, kids’ workshops, artists talks and yoga sessions available for a fee. Donations are also welcome to support the event – gifts of $2 and over are tax deductible. You can donate online at www.swellsculpture.com.au.
And of course most of the works are available to buy, but for quite a few of them you’ll require a deep wallet and a big forklift.