Warnbro artist Ian Snelling won the $5000 Alcoa Major Sculpture Award for recycled sculpture with an aluminium component with his artwork Recycling School.
Snelling used a discarded air compressor tank as the basis for a wise owl teacher, and disposable helium-balloon tanks and mini corrugated-iron off-cuts to create ‘student’ fish. Snelling said he’d never entered any competition before, apart from guessing how many jelly beans were in a jar.
“I was a bit stunned,” he said. “As it was my first time entering the awards I thought it was unlikely I would win anything. I was poked and prodded to enter by a few other artists as well as my family. So, in a fashion, I was pushed into it. It’s been a lot of fun. Making the work put a smile on my face, and now it’s certainly putting a smile on other people’s faces.”
Judges Jenepher Duncan, Curator of Australian Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of WA, and Dr Bruce Slatter, Head of the School of Design and Art at Curtin University, said Snelling’s work was distinguished by its wit, humour and fine craftmanship.
The winners of the $3000 Fremantle Ports Award for recycled sculpture were Bayswater artists Hayley Bahr and Tim Keevil with Cansumerism, a four-metre-plus giant crushed aluminium can created from hundreds of aluminium cans, cleverly disguising a fully-functioning printmaking studio. The pair will open the studio on Saturday 29 October where they will demonstrate printmaking using aluminium cans and hold free workshops. Workshop bookings can be made at the Information Tent or by phoning the City of Rockingham on 9528 0333.
The winner of the $3000 City of Rockingham Award for recycled sculpture was Fremantle artist Janet Nixon with Checkers, a black and white spotted dog created from recycled steel discs inspired by dalmations.
The winner of the $3000 Engie Innovation Award was Nedlands artist Joan Johnson with At Night I Will Sing You a Lullaby, reproducing a lullaby she wrote when 12 years old by painstakingly punching holes in aluminium cans for each letter. Included in each can is a light, casting a gentle glow in the evenings.
Lucy Baddely, a 16-year-old student at Presbyterian Ladies College, won the Sustainable Living Award with A Whale of a Problem, an imposing five-metre whale shark created from hundreds of empty water bottles.
The Castaways Primary and Secondary Schools Competition is on show for the entire exhibition. The winner of the Primary School section was Endeavour Primary School with Fantastic Plastic Disaster, using a variety of recycled plastic objects to create a tableaux of forms painted blue.
The winner of the Secondary School section was Living Waters Lutheran College with Stuffed to the Gills, an enormous fish stuffed with discarded plastic objects.
The Castaways Sculpture Awards continues at Palm Beach, Rockingham Foreshore until 2pm Sunday 30 October. Visitors can be involved in this year’s exhibition by writing their own Castaways message and adding it to the artwork Message on a Bottle, a two-metre high bottle constructed from fencing wire. Take some photos too, as the Castaways Photography Competition is open until 11 November.