There’s nothing in the world like SWELL Sculpture Festival. There are other outdoor sculpture events, but they don’t happen on one of the best beaches in the world. SWELL is quintessentially Gold Coast and one of the reasons why it’s such a beloved event.
250,000 visitors are expected to experience SWELL when it takes over Currumbin Beach for the 14th year from 9 – 18 September. And when they arrive, they’ll be greeted by Dion Parker’s dogs leaving their mark the only way dogs know how. They’ll experience Rebecca Cunningham’s sound installation comprising 14 grammaphones. There’ll be gigantic sculptures made from timber and marine-grade canvas, oversized Scrabble tiles and a giant inflatable reptile.
55 artists will have their work exhibited during the ten-day event and of those, some 11 are Gold Coasters.
SWELL director and curator Natasha Edwards said the event has grown to become an integral part of the Gold Coast’s identity, recognised by the international art community as a showcase of eccentric diversity.
“Each year, we are proud to present a unique, outdoor exhibition connecting people, art and place with the intention to inspire our audience,” Natasha said, adding that the works on display range fro whimsical and fun-spirited to pieces carrying a serious message of conservation.”
New to SWELL this year, far north Queensland artist BJ Price will exhibit The Alpha Turtle, a giant inflatable sculpture affectionately dubbed ‘Big Alphy’.
Derek and Katie Hooper are also new to SWELL. Katie, previously a lifestyle writer for Blank GC and one of those creative souls permanently looking for an artistic outlet is pretty excited about the opportunity. Derek says they already have five year’s worth of SWELL pieces in the pipeline.
“Having been down there for the last five or six years, we kind of know the style that SWELL goes for,’ Derek said. “It’s fun and the festival is on the beach, and we get to use that space.”
SWELL will also feature a collaborative piece, titled Antidote and depicting a colony of ants, created by Gold Coast artist Andrew Cullen with students of the Visual Arts Academy of Helensvale State High School.
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SWELL takes place 8 – 19 September on the shores of Currumbin Beach. More at swellsculpture.com.au.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rowly Emmett Photography