SWELL brings sea to dry land with The Scavenger

Boonah artist Christopher Trotter has been wrangling discarded metals into astonishing pieces of art since 1994. With over 40 public pieces to his credit, this seasoned sculptor is proficient at breathing new life into objects that most would consider fit for the dump. Each year, Christopher’s creations can be found wowing the crowds at SWELL Sculpture Festival. This year’s event sees one of his earlier works ‘The Scavenger’ make an appearance at Northerly SWELL.

Inspired by the 1940 Marmon Herrington Ford crane truck, originally used on the Brisbane wharves for unloading shipments during World War II, ‘The Scavenger’ is made from salvaged scrap metal from the sea, and it designed to represent sustainable solutions to preserving the health of our oceans.

“’The Scavenger’ is a whimsical, creative and interactive piece that takes a look at the classic Australian culture of ‘making do’,” describes Christopher.

“[The piece] has become a spiritual/fishing/aquatic themed Mad Max machine promoting creative solutions to future generations. Waste [symbolised by the scrap metal] continues to be dumped into our oceans and waterways.

“This piece is a messenger to mankind – ’The revenge of the sea comes to land’.”

Those familiar with the harsh, rusted landscape of the Mad Max universe will make an instant connection to the piece. Created in 1998, ‘The Scavenger’ appeared in the very first SWELL Sculpture Festival in 2003. The piece serves as a time capsule for the style of work Christopher was creating in the 1990s.

“I have always loved old engine and machinery design. For many years I was looking for a project vehicle to transform into a moving piece of art,” he says.

‘The Scavenger’ will remain at the Helensvale Library and Cultural Centre until 17 September as part of Northerly SWELL, an initiative designed to widen the reach of the festival. As for Christopher, things are currently going in a slightly different direction.

“[I’m] spending time on a kinetic piece titled ‘The Vomitor’, a sound scape sculpture as well as a performance,” he tell us.

The main SWELL Festival runs from 8 – 17 September at Currumbin. Visit swellsculpture.com.au for a full list of what’s on.

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