Brisbane, QLD

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Every year for the past 15 years, the SWELL sculpture festival has been held for free on Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland. We visited again this year. It was a beautiful Spring day.
Over 55 artists display their work on the beach. "They combine their skills of an engineer, an architect, a scientists, a philosopher and a poet to reveal works of art that speak to our soul." The organisers had a vision to connect "people, art and place through thought provoking public art in a stunning environment."

 Currumbin Beach stretches between two rocky outcrops. This one is called Elephant Rock and perched on top is the sculpture of "These Hands" Michael Van Dam. -" They love, give, touch, take, hate, hurt and destroy. They grow wary, they grow old."

At the other end of the beach is Currumbin Rock, where a giant crab has been installed. "The Crab" Joy Haylen. "It is an innovative blend of cutting edge technology and blacksmiths techniques." Many school groups were visiting the exhibition.

 In between the two rocks, along the length of the beach were other installations. I didn't take them all.
This one is called, "Safe" Clayton Thompson. It is made from about 60000 pool noodles. "It is a comment on the journey of domestic violence victims, 'Safe' represents a safe house and the moment when the individual moves from victim to survivor."

"A New Face" MJ Ryan Bennett. It is made from plastic chairs.

"Tidal Intersection" Manning Daly. It symbolises our connection with the moon and the oceans.

As well as installations on the beach there are others along the footpath. It was much easier walking than in the thick, soft sand for us oldies.
"Books and Mortar" Monte Lupo. "Made from recycled objects creating new stories. Books bring people together and provide a way to escape you are never alone when you are reading a book."

"Post Tree Museum 11" Jeanette Krohn. Made of glass. Depicts the state of the world's forests today.
"Conversation" Philip Piperides. "Human gestures are created daily without thought and so naturally."

"Love Birds" Miles Allen.  The Bower Bird builds a bower and decorates it with blue objects to attract a partner. This bower is 8 times larger than the bird's. It is decorated with blue plastic pieces. Viewers are invited to write messages of love.

"The Huntress" Sean Williams. "Based on the female Black Dragon Fish. She is a huntress in the depths of the sea. She produces light which attracts her prey. The title is from Greek mythology. Artemis the goddess of hunt.  Made from street found industrial objects. It has LCD lighting."
Next year we are going at night time to see the sculptures when the sun is setting and when the lighting comes on.

See more on Bill's one minute video.


  1. Wow, I would have enjoyed walking around looking at those art pieces, some of them are quite spectacular. Have a good day t'other Diane

  2. Fantastic exhibition at a unique place, the beach!

  3. Wow, these are all amazing sculptures. I think it is neat that they have this exhibit on the beach, what a great location. The crab is one of my favorites, but they are all cool. Enjoy your day!

  4. There are some interesting works. I especially like Love Birds and The Huntress.

  5. I'm sure i wouldn't like all of them but there would be enough there to keep me interested.

  6. Wow Diane, what a diverse and colorful display on the beach and such a beautiful day to be out and about. My favorite was the giant crab and the red chairs were just plain fun.

  7. This is very like our 'Sculpture by the Sea' Diane, I love every single one you've shown us here and enjoyed Bill's video. The simplicity of the moon really appeals, bet it would look fabulous at night!

  8. I like some of the works, especially the Love Birds one - though often the 'rationale' for these sculptures seems a bit laboured. Can't see what pool noodles looking like a bottle brush plant have to do with domestic violence victims... but if the artist deems it so, so be it.

  9. How wonderful! The pool noodle one is really eye-catching and an appropriate medium for a beach sculpture. Not sure about how well it represents the problem of domestic violence though.

  10. Gosh that was fun! I think I loved the moon one (and the symbolism of it) and the book the best.... but all were so interesting and I love to see outdoor art. Can tell you for sure that (my) Bill would only have looked at the ones along the Boardwalk. He hates walking in sand -- and I admit it is getting harder for me every minute!

  11. Marvelous sculptures and thank you for including the artists interpretation. Always interesting. Great post Diane, and thank you for the share.

  12. What neat art! So creative. I like the books with the kid one, red one too. I should say I like them all

  13. A fabulous exhibition of creativeness - great to see, thanks for your photos and commentary Diane.

  14. The video wasn't available but I love displays like this. Such colors and textures with such imagination!