SWELL Sculpture Festival celebrates 19 years on the Gold Coast

AAR-SWELL-Sculpture-Festival-Sam-Gowing-Whale-Playground-photo-by-Lex-ImageryCelebrating its 19th year, the annual SWELL Sculpture Festival has evolved to be one of Australia’s most celebrated cultural events, attracting a huge number of visitors each year to the iconic shores of Currumbin Beach, Queensland, to enjoy the open-air art experience.

SWELL is Queensland’s premier outdoor sculpture exhibition and presents Australian and international artists to captivate the hearts and minds of the large audience. Set between two iconic giant rock formations along the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Beach, the vast coastal landscape encourages thought-provoking and sculpturally impressive works.

The free 10-day outdoor exhibition along Currumbin Beach will take place from 10 – 19 September as the festival presents small, medium and large-scale sculptures, installations, performance and digital works from more than 100 Queensland artists and over 145 Australian and international artists across the festival sites.

SWELL Sculpture Festival Co-founder and Artistic Director, Natasha Edwards says this year the Festival has some exciting new elements and artists in the mix. “We are excited to welcome the SWELL Kids Elements activities back to the festival and the interest from artists, both locally and interstate has been unprecedented,” she said.

“We are still collectively feeling the stress of the pandemic and have come to realise in times like these, getting outdoors, creating – and enjoying – art is more important than ever.”

“There is strength to SWELL’s approach to temporary public artwork. While its presence is short lived it leaves a lasting impression through the reverberations of the artist’s voices and the echoes of memories and shared conversations.”

“To this day we remain true to our original vision of connecting people, art and place through thought provoking public art in a stunning environment. Each sculpture tells its story, and collectively these stories emanate the essence of SWELL.”

“Audiences identify with the diversity of works presented and the artists who think differently about the world and challenge themselves through the presentation of meaningful sculptures and artistic commentary.”

The festival is open to all mediums of sculpture and an opportunity for artists to shine in the public light on shared land,” said Ms Edwards.

SWELL Sculpture Festival Executive Director Dee Steinfort says the exhibition enables artists to showcase their creations to an enthusiastic and captivated audience while presenting ideologies and social comment on issues in our society.

“Visitors are also encouraged to engage with sculptural works that tell stories and make statements concerning the past, present and future – inspiring ideas and commentary while challenging and stimulating the imagination,” she said.

“To allow wonderment, critique and a full range of opinions – evoking conversations between strangers, friends and family – the festival is a feast for the senses.” said Ms Steinfort.

Highlights of the 2021 SWELL Sculpture Festival include:

  • Four pop-up exhibitions across the City of Gold Coast; westerlySWELL, easterlySWELL, northerlySWELL and SWELL Smalls
  • Immersive programming with SWELL Fringe Festival
  • Children’s workshops and adult’s masterclasses led by greatly renowned sculptors
  • SWELL Kids Elements featuring Monte Lupo Wonderland and First Nations Storytelling
  • Two ‘Feature Invited Artists’ to exhibit at SWELL Sculpture Festival along Currumbin Beach focusing on large-scale Land Art and Kinetic Sculpture.

SWELL is a festival of experiences, a sensory symphony, an opportunity to bring together individual and collective imagining to encourage positive change. SWELL invites artists to tell their stories through public art, encouraging and supporting artistic excellence and vibrancy.

SWELL creates cultural experiences for diverse intergenerational audiences to immerse in. Encouraging open dialogue, discussion of contemporary issues, building social cohesion and stimulating a greater sense of place and belonging. Being consciously inclusive and respectful of artists and audiences from all backgrounds.

Artworks explore an abundance of topics including cultural stories, ecology, nature and natural processes, human nature, life and health cultural stories crisis, politics, community, and environment. Mediums for sculpture resolve include concrete, stainless steel, copper, bronze, wood, glass, plastic, natural fibres, fibreglass, bamboo, Corten steel, wire, silk, stone, aluminum and more.

“SWELL piques our imagination like no other festivalin Australia,” said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. “For the past 19 years, it has stimulated our senses and evoked curiosity from the tens of thousands of visitors.”

“The art installations and locations are unique, set among the raw outdoor landscapes of our city. As our city continues to broaden its arts and cultural identity, the role SWELL plays is incredibly important,” said Mr Tate.

The 2021 SWELL Sculpture Festival is set along the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Beach from 10 – 19 September. For more information and full program, visit: www.swellsculpture.com.au for details.

Image: Sam Gowing’s Whale Playground – photo by Leximagery