The Swell Sculpture Festival is held each year in September, this year is the 9th year of the event and I always try to spend a couple of hours meandering through the art, dodging other onlookers and feeling the sand between my toes. The art is free to see, the backdrop is the blue sky and white sand of Currumbin beach on the southern end of the Gold Coast in Queensland. You can buy programmes, vote for your favourite sculpture or just sit in a cafe across the road and enjoy the view.
For the last two years we have used the event as a day out with the dogs, last year we went in the afternoon which meant it was cooler for two black dogs and the changing light as the sun set enhanced the sculptures. This year it was mid-morning, no dogs because it was much too hot and on a beautiful Sunday we knew that there would be too many people about and navigating with dogs the size of ours can be difficult in a crowd. Parking was not free, for $5 we parked in the car park of a the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the money going to a good cause and we were guaranteed a place to park.
The range of sculptures is always fascinating and after a few years attending the event you can identify the particular style or medium used by an artist: metal, resin, timber, stone, plaster or clay. The sculptures are usually lined up along the esplanade with only a couple located on the beach however this year there were many more on the beach and I particular liked the green polar bear and reflective sculpture, they do have proper titles but I was stingy and didn’t buy a programme. The heat coming off the sand and the glare of the sun on some sculptures proved too bright in some instances, we stood in the cool water watching as the waves rolled in, the water splashing our legs cooling us instantly and the ocean breeze certainly helped as well.
In the end the heat was too much for us and it was getting close to lunch time, the soft serve ice-cream we bought from a lovely lady in an ice cream van was delicious but we craved real food and some air conditioned comfort. Next year I think we’ll venture down in the afternoon, being the 10th anniversary of the event I imagine that there will be some spectacular displays and celebrations.