Swell sculpture winners celebrate

THE winner of the major prize at the 12th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival in Currumbin was named on Friday.

Daniel Clemmett’s piece “Keeping Up With The Kalashnikovs” claimed one of seven awards given as part of the 10 day exhibition.

Judged by Chris Saines, Director of the Queensland Art Gallery Gallery of Modern Art and sponsored by The City of Gold Coast, the $15,000 SWELL Sculpture Award is the most sought after of the festival and this year saw over 60 entrants vying for the coveted prize.


Daniel, who hails from Northern NSW, won his striking three metre gun, created using recycled automotive panels and engine bonnets.

Mr Saines said he was impressed with the standard of work from all of the artists.

“Daniel Clemmett’s work is a great example of the exceptional standard of pieces in this year’s SWELL Sculpture Festival,” Mr Saines said.

“It is the work that, in my view, made the most insistent and artistically compelling contribution to the event. I kept returning to Clemmett’s work, increasingly feeling that it had made a thoughtful, well resolved and even provocative contribution to the SWELL conversation,” he said.

“Daniel Clemmett has fashioned his monumentally-scaled Kalashnikov out of recycled automotive panels, essentially transforming the domestic car into an insurgent’s weapon of choice.

“The Kalashnikov is infamously the go-to gun for resistance movements around the world and those who can’t afford the high tech weaponry and training of the major powers. By re-fashioning his gun at the scale of a Howitzer, more commonly found at the entry to RSL Clubs and at the base of war memorials Australia-wide, Clemmett clearly has a penchant for irony, which isn’t lost in the ‘Keeping up with the (Kardashians)’ overlay of his title.”

“The organisers are to be congratulated on having again staged one of the most diverse and engaging outdoor sculpture events to be found in Australia. I applaud the overall quality and ambition of SWELL and am confident that this year’s event will again attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Currumbin Beach.”

Director Natasha Edwards says the festival was thrilled to have Mr Saines be part of the judging panel this year, further evidence of the standing the festival holds in the Queensland artistic landscape.

“Each year the festival extends its influence, with more on offer for those who attend. This year is no exception. The works presented by local, national and international artists are spectacular and we’re expecting audiences to embrace and appreciate them,” Ms Edwards said.

“It was a privilege to have Chris Saines judging the major award this year,” she continued.

“His involvement added real depth to the festival, and his response to the unique interplay of sculptures set amongst the dunes, sand and rocky outcrops of the Currumbin foreshore was heartening.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate congratulated all the winners and encouraged Gold Coast residents to visit Currumbin beach and experience world-class art works.

“The SWELL Sculpture Festival is a wonderful celebration of our spectacular natural environment and vibrant cultural community,” said Councillor Tate.

“City of Gold Coast is proud to support the festival and help bring world-class art from local, national and international artists to the people of the Gold Coast to enjoy and experience.

“I warmly congratulate all the winners today and encourage Gold Coast residents to come down to Currumbin and enjoy spectacular outdoor art at its best.”

A full list of winners is available at www.swellsculpture.com.au