Artists announced as SWELL celebrates 15 years

Over 600 artists have exhibited at SWELL since its humble beginnings in 2003 and in 2017, another 50 artists have been selected to join this distinguished cohort.

Celebrating its 15th 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 8 – 17 September.

The exhibition will include works by renowned Indigenous artist Michael Nelson Jagamara (Tjakamarra), 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.

Michael Nelson Jagamara is arguably Australia’s most successful Indigenous artist with his iconic piece Five Stories (1984) achieving a record for the highest price for any living Aboriginal artist when the work sold for AUD$687,877 at Sotherby’s London in 2016. Having Jagamara exhibit his work is an exciting coup for the Gold Coast festival.

His SWELL installation is derived from Jagamara’s Rain + Water Dreaming story. Here, Jagamara’s graphic gestural forms are re-imagined as classic hard-edged sculptures. The sculptures have an angular base which represents a section of the “travelling storm snaking its way across the continent”, and the three jagged upright forms represent the “flashes of lightning”. Lighting is a common theme in Jagamara’s work.

SWELL’s founding director and curator Natasha Edwards 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.

SWELL Sculpture Festival runs from 8 to 17 September at Currumbin Beach. It is a free event. For the full list of exhibiting artists, visit swellsculpture.com.au.

IMAGE (c) Mick Richards

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