SWELL; Just Swell!

Currumbin is awesome. There’s two beaches; the main one’s best for boogieboarding and  brunch, and the Alley is best for playing in the shallows, learning to surf, and scrambling amongst the boulders. One day soon the boys will be big enough to climb Currumbin Rock with me too. So much to love!

woohoo geronimo!, found you Mum.
Woohoo geronimo!, found you Mum!

One sunny day 13 years ago some arty type thought how cool it would be to use this natural beauty to showcase human creativity? and the SWELL Sculpture Festival was born. For 10 days in September the beaches at Currumbin become an open-air, interactive, totally free art gallery! They added mobile wood-fired pizza and Mr Whippy vans and it’s how I want to experience art all the time now. It’s awesome!

(This is going to be a photography post, naturally. The crappy less gooder ones are off my phone when I went with the kids, and the nicer ones are from when I went back early the next morning with the geewhiz camera to shoot my favourites. Wish I could’ve got them all but there were 55 artworks this year!)

This one is my bestest number one favourite, but the boys and I completely missed it the first day! And I thus missed out on voting for it – d’oh – but it won the Environmental Awareness Award without my help.

Relics from Atlantis, Ben Carroll. I love it. Looks like perfect spheres of ocean flotsam left by the tide.
Relics from Atlantis by Ben Carroll. I love it. They look like giant bubbles of ocean-crafted flotsam left by the tide.
It's like a massive wooden Rubik's globe!
It’s like a massive wooden Rubik’s globe!
Reminds me of an old glass buoy wrapped in rope that Dad found at the beach years ago.
Reminds me of a vintage glass buoy wrapped in rope Dad found at the beach years ago. I like how the sand is piled up against it; it was bloody windy yesterday!
Made from re-used jetty timber and planks from old boats.
Built with re-used jetty timber and planks from old boats. This is my favourite one! I’d totally buy it for the garden if I had $7,600 handy. ($25,000 for the lot!)
The ol’ ball of chain.

Someone’s always forgetting their sunnies at the beach…

I Sea, Giuseppe Filardo. Someone's always forgetting their sunnies at the beach...
I Sea, Giuseppe Filardo. A mixture of recycled hardwood and other timbers, with fixtures just like real spectacles!

This next one, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, was inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft novel of the same name. The artists, Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, are apparently super obsessed with tentacles and like to make inflatable cephalopods that attack public buildings and so on. I saw in the info booklet it contains LEDs… all this and it lights up too!

Doc... are you telling me that this sucker is NUCLEAR?!? (check out the torpedo hiding amongst the sucky tentacles)
“Doc… are you telling me that this sucker is NUCLEAR?!?

The next one was interactive, but I couldn’t get the boys to climb on it. Typical; when they’re invited, it’s the last thing they want to do.

I am Mum by Suzi Lucas. I am Mum too - this must be me on a good day...
I am Mum by Suzi Lucas. I am Mum too – this is me on a good day… sunny, happy…
... and on a not so good day. DO NOT MESS WITH ME ON THESE DAYS.
… and on a MUMMY JUST NEEDS TO YELL AND PUNCH THE COUCH FOR A LITTLE WHILE DARLING kind of day.

The next one the boys were only too happy to interact with as it involved graffitiing something. Volunteers handed out textas and we walked around the installation reading earlier inscriptions and trying to find a bit of space.

#thewall2015 by Leonie Rhodes.
#thewall2015 by Leonie Rhodes. Definitely a favourite!
Finny managed to find a spot.
Finny insisted on doing it in ‘joined up writing’.
Roars is getting good at writing his name!
Roars is getting good at writing his name too! Just in time for prep next year.

Okay boys, just stand at the end and look through…”Mummy, I think we can fit through here…” NO!! NO CLIMBING IN, THIS IS NOT ONE YOU CAN CLIMB ON!

??? by ??? I can't find it in the booklet! I'll update it after they update their website gallery.
Time Space Corridor by Clayton Thompson.

…They didn’t climb in, but I could see they were very sorely tempted and saw it as a bit of a wasted opportunity.

They made up for it by hurdling laps over this one. Ship of Fools by Oliver Stretton-Pow.
They made up for it by hurdling laps over this one. Ship of Fools by Oliver Stretton-Pow.
I totally want it for my mantelpiece! First I have to get a mantelpiece...
I totally want it for my mantelpiece! First things first – I have to get a mantelpiece. A big one.

We managed to get the next one to ourselves for a few minutes – the boys loved it, and stood close to the wind-flapped towels, laughing their arses off when they got whapped in the face.

You should always know where your towel is by Greg Quinton. Pre-loved beach towels up on a Hills Hoist - that is a quintessentially Aussie summer image. Somebody get me a pie!
You should always know where your towel is by Greg Quinton. Beach towels on a Hills Hoist – quintessentially ‘Aussie summer’. Somebody get me a pie!

washing line SWELL 2015

 

From Natasha Edwards, SWELL Director;

“All sculptures posit an idea, an observation, a truism, an irony, an absurdity, a flight of fancy, a contradiction, an affirmation…”

Many of the works made a statement, and considering the venue, environmentalism was appropriate. The next sculpture represents something that few Australians have ever heard of, let alone seen – the largest tree in Australia, the 400 year old ‘Kermandie Queen’ Mountain Ash near Geeveston in Tasmania. At 21.65m in diameter, this particular tree is protected, but the logging of our old growth forests has resulted in the loss of many equally majestic trees. Queensland has been noted as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ due to its alarmingly high rates of land clearing; last financial year about 275,000 hectares were cleared from Queensland – about triple the rate in 2010.

Still Standing by Jacqueline Damon.
Still Standing by Jacqueline Damon. Rory and I are reading The Magic Faraway Tree at the moment – do you think it’s this big Roars? Bigger? Probably.

We reached Currumbin Rock, found more hidden in the boulders and sand dunes, then started the return leg along the foreshore.

The Alley was going off, thanks to the gale force winds!
The Alley was going off, thanks to the gale force winds!
Lost and Found, Ingrid Morley.
Lost and Found, Ingrid Morley. The SWELL Sculpture Award Winner for 2015! It’s a metaphor of significant turning points in life; as the rope tenses and breaks, the ‘old life’ boat sails away.

While it was very windy it wasn’t *quite* windy enough for that heavy mooring rope to get blown around – a core of steel is holding it in place. The wind was quite helpful with several other works though; the aforementioned nuclear squid… an installation of windmills made from bike wheels… these guys…

Blowing in the Wind, Isaac Patmore. There were three of these, tinkling gently like massive wind chimes. But better.
Blowing in the Wind, Isaac Patmore. There were three of these, tinkling gently like massive wind chimes. I usually hate wind chimes, but I really liked these. A lot.

The artist used all four elements to create this work.

Air, to blow the leaves and ring the bells...
Air, to move the leaves and ring the bells…
Water, as you heard the waves crashing on the beach with the bells...
Water – the sound of the waves crashing on the beach joined with the bells…
Earth and fire, to make the bells.
And earth and fire, to create the bells.

Another one of my favourites, judging by the fact I took about 2,000 photos.

Here’s one you can try at home! Use some kind of blue knitted basket and lengths of fishing line. Looks awesome and is suitable for hanging anywhere. Trees, doorways, rearview mirrors, earlobes…

Jellyfish Tree by Melissa Hirsch.
Jellyfish Tree by Melissa Hirsch.

Nearly there!

Another favourite, made of recycled timber, ‘mild’ steel (more polite than ‘tempered’ steel?) and mirrors. I like how in this photo the mirrored image almost lines up with the background.

Place and Time in Spirit by Adrienne Hmelnitsky.
Place and Time in Spirit by Adrienne Hmelnitsky.

And last but not least; in fact the boys’ bestest number one favourite and the one they voted for – Emerging Dragon, by Michael Van Dam. As in, “Van DAM he is GOOD!!”

You can see right down his throat Mum! Epic!
HEY MUM GUESS WHAT?? You can see right down his throat! Epic!
Unsurprisingly, this monster took out both the People's Choice Award and the Kid's Choice Award. Not that kids aren't people.
Unsurprisingly, this monster took out both the People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice Awards. Not that kids aren’t people. Maybe it should be ‘Big People’s Choice Award’? Sounds sizist. How about ‘Mature People’s…’ nope. They wouldn’t let me vote. Ah People’s will do. Maybe for the kids ‘Little People’s Choice Award’ would be… no. Not that either.

Well that’s it from SWELL 2015! If you can make it next year you totally should, it’s brilliant. Parking is a bitch though so get here early, preferably on a weekday. If you’re here on a weekend I recommend coughing up $8 for a day’s parking at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary around the corner – it’s only a short walk back to Elephant Rock and the start of the ‘gallery’ from there and you can come and go as you please.

Hope you enjoyed!

– Michelle

Dragon sculpture, SWELL

More info:

If you want to check out SWELL on Instagram, search this year’s hashtag #swell2015

SWELL is free for all to enjoy, but there are also masterclasses, kids’ workshops, artists talks and yoga sessions available for a fee. Donations are also welcome to support the event – gifts of $2 and over are tax deductible. You can donate online at www.swellsculpture.com.au.

And of course most of the works are available to buy, but for quite a few of them you’ll require a deep wallet and a big forklift.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. All great shots (and great art!), but wow, the sky in those “MUM” photos…just unreal!

    Like

    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks, Nutty! 🙂 That means heaps coming from a mintox photographer such as yourself! 🙂

      Like

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