th year, the 10-day exhibition has been instrumental in engaging the community in a vibrant cultural dialogue, as Australian and international artists display diverse works highlighting a range of social, environmental and contemporary issues.
Transforming Currumbin Beach into a breathtaking outdoor gallery, 50 artworks both whimsical and provocative, will delight for the free, family-friendly exhibition taking place from September 8 to 17.
The exhibition will include works by renowned Indigenous artist Michael Nelson Jagamara, as well as crowd favourite Monte Lupo and father-and-son duo Philip and Alex Piperides – with Philip also leading masterclasses at this year’s festival.
More than 275,000 visitors will descend on the beach to wander among sculptures of all sizes, as artists vie for a range of coveted awards valued at more than $25,000, including the major award of $15,000.
SWELL’s founding director and curator Natasha Edwards said this year’s successful submissions included many artists exhibiting at SWELL for the first time.
“With SWELL now reaching the significant milestone of 15 years, the event is highly regarded as a platform of wide exposure for both emerging and established artists, and we are incredibly proud to present works by several new artists this year, alongside sculptures by artists who have contributed to the evolution of SWELL over a number of years,” Ms Edwards said.
She said the event had grown into an integral part of the Gold Coast’s cultural identity and was recognised by the international art community as a showcase of artistic diversity.
“When visitors walk amongst the sculptures this year, they will enter the minds of incredible artists, who visually articulate and stimulate conversation through the display of their work in the open landscape at SWELL,” she said.
Longtime SWELL artist Christopher Trotter said the event provided artists with an important avenue to display their works to the public on a large-scale.
“It was always fun to watch the public engage and interact with the pieces. SWELL has given me the opportunity to keep that tradition alive,” said Mr Trotter, who has exhibited each and every year. To signify this longstanding contribution, Trotter will also feature at Northerly SWELL this year.
This year’s curatorial panel included Ms Edwards, fellow SWELL director Ruth Della, Gold Coast City Art Gallery director Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Dr Chris Bennie and, CREATIVEMOVE and Onespace Gallery director John Stafford.
Mr Stafford said this year’s selection represented a diverse range of sculptural approaches while delivering on high-calibre standards.
“From stand-alone, well-executed pieces to thoughtful site-specific installations, we see talented local artists curated into sharp relief against an impressive group of national and some international artists,” Mr Stafford said.
“Conceptually swaying from populist to political, to philosophical concerns, visitors to this year’s SWELL will be able to segue intellectually and emotionally among some of the finest temporary outdoor sculpture from across Australia.
“Monumental, fascinating, delicate, or simply perplexing, this engaging exhibition will also inspire and provoke both local and visiting artists to the region to enter for next year’s challenge for selection,” he said.
In 2017, selected artists include 32 from Queensland, including 11 Gold Coast artists, 11 from New South Wales, two from Western Australia, and three from Victoria, as well as three international artists from Austria, Turkey and Taiwan.
SWELL Sculpture Festival Date: September 8 to 17, 2017
Location: Pacific Parade, Currumbin Beach