Gold Coast Magazine

Two Gold Coast artists have taken out the major SWELL Sculpture Festival prize

Local artists have taken out the major SWELL Sculpture Festival prize

The 16th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival has announced Dion Parker and Andrew Cullen as the winners of this year’s major Neumann Family SWELL Sculpture Award, taking top honours and $15,000 amongst a total prize pool of more than $25,000.

The major SWELL Sculpture Award is the most coveted prize of Queensland’s largest outdoor exhibition which sees artists exhibit their awe-inspiring works along a one-kilometer stretch of Currumbin Beach from September 14 to 23.

Created from steel, REO Bar, wire and barbed wire, the winning entry titled Prickles The Unhuggable Bear, is a gigantic teddy discarded on the sand, sitting 3.5 meters high and 2.3 meters wide.

The winner of this year’s major award was selected by The Walls Art Space artistic director Rebecca Ross, who says the particular work stood out to her as addressing the context and sentiment of SWELL.

“Sitting as though discarded on the sand, evoking the playtime of past days, and in a place that hosts a myriad of leisure activities, is Prickles the Unhuggable Bear,” says Ms Ross.

“The work plays on the materiality of our existence and our relationship to objects; the obsolescence of the bear as superseded by digital devices is written is all over its face.

“At first glance, you’re drawn in by the familiar shape of the bear, a shape that evokes childhood memories, and by the prospect of approaching the work with the invitation of a hug…the only catch is that Prickles is covered in barbs!

“Prickles made me rethink the familiarity of a place I know so well and the objects that I hold so dear, and how our everyday experiences can be reflected back to us or reframed via art.”

SWELL co-founder and curator Natasha Edwards said this year’s event attracted an unrivalled collection of thought-provoking and immensely creative works of art for spectators to enjoy.

“Those who visit SWELL will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives and minds of a sculptor,” says Ms Edwards.

“Visitors will feel the freedom to look into the meaning of each sculpture which has been created by artists whose minds are as open as the setting in which they take place.

“Each sculpture shares a story and informs the viewer on an issue close to the artist’s heart and resonates with shared concerns.”

Also included in the 2018 SWELL prize pool is the Max Fabre Foundation Environmental Awareness Award for $3,000. Selected by Leanne Sanderson of the Max Fabre Foundation, the prize was awarded to Antone Bruinsma with the sculpture, The Three Graces, which consists of three carved marble slabs inspired by mushroom coral.

The Jennie Neumann OAM Emerging Artist Award was awarded to Greg Quinton for his creation Jump, which captures the exhilaration of leaping into the unknown.  Mr Quinton will receive $1,500 as the recipient of this prize.

Other winners announced include the Bendigo Bank Tugan Artist Peer Award of $1000, awarded to Karl Meyer with Foci, a stainless-steel creation which invites the viewer to move into a place of contemplation.

The Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club People’s Choice Award of $3,000 and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Kids’ Choice Award of $3,000 will be announced on Sunday, September 23 at 5pm at the Central Hub.

The collection of unique and inspiring sculptures selected for this year’s festival promise to captivate audiences with their thought-provoking messages, tactile creation and intricate detail and often enormity, as they create striking silhouettes along the shoreline.

In 2018, visitors to the festival can enjoy a multi-faceted creative environment where the whole family can enjoy a host of workshops, a school-based program, and captivating twilight walks winding through the sculptures as the sun sinks beyond the skyline.

This year’s program will also see the addition of artists talks, a series of interview-style chats with select exhibiting artists. Giving event goers a unique opportunity to meet the maker, the artist will share their experience creating their sculpture and explore the message they hope to convey through their creation.

Art lovers of all skill levels will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of workshops kicking off this weekend. From kid’s workshops to a masterclass with renowned artist and exhibitor Phillip Piperides, there is something for every art lover.

The annual festival invites the local community to kick off their shoes and immerse themselves in this internationally acclaimed cultural attraction and experience the atmosphere that continues to captivate art enthusiasts, families, beach lovers and the like.


$1,000 Bendigo Bank Tugun Artist Peer Award

Karl Meyer  


Site 3


$1,500 Jennie Neumann Emerging Artist Award

Greg Quinton


Site 17


$3,000 Max Fabre Foundation Environmental Awareness Award

Antone Bruinsma
The Three Graces

Site 14


$15,000  The Neumann Family SWELL Sculpture Award

Dion Parker & Andrew Cullen

Prickles the Unhuggable Bear

Site 2

For more information please visit www.swellsculpture.com.au

photographer Rowly Emmett.

Photography by  Rowly Emmett.

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