Gold Coast Happy Days: first public art installed at the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct


The saying “you can never have too much of a good thing” is certainly true when it comes to culture on the Gold Coast. So it’s exciting times currently as the first building works for Stage 1 for the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct are on the horizon.

But a cultural precinct without art is not much of a cultural precinct at all and that is why, with great excitement, the first piece of acquired public art for the Cultural Precinct has been announced announced.

Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, and The Arts Centre Gold Coast General Manager, Destry Puia, revealed the image that will turn the construction fence at Evansdale Park into a public art installation.

The winning piece is Gold Coast Happy Days by local artist Go Suga.

The competition, coordinated by The Arts Centre Gold Coast, attracted strong interest from Gold Coast artists, with an independent panel choosing three pieces for a public vote. Suga’s colourful entry was the public’s clear favourite, attracting almost half of the 776 public votes.

His winning image has the new cultural precinct at its heart with the artist’s favourite part of the cultural precinct design, The Tower, in the middle of the composition.

The Tower has a beacon-like quality to it and it seems to spread its light and influence over the beaches, the city, nature and the environment from the surf to the hinterland. And then there is sun. A lot of sun. The quintessential driving force of the city.

Go Suga was born in Hiroshima and moved to the Gold Coast almost 30 years ago. Over his three decades here, he has come to love and embrace the outdoor lifestyle, laidback attitude and joie-de-vivre that is Gold Coast. In Gold Coast Happy Days he has depicted exactly that; the essence of the city and elements of its lifestyle, the magnificent natural beauty of the area and his own journey into calling this place home.

Go Suga is a visual storyteller whose paintings blend cultures, play with the sense of mystique and reflect his own perspective on love, life and art. He started years ago with a much more simplified colour palette of just black and white and while searching for his own individual style and visual language, he started to experiment with colour and fell in love.

His paintings start as outlines that get ‘coloured in’ with colours that express emotions, aesthetics, symbolism and personal preferences. Painting is very much a spontaneous, free-flowing process for Suga. Or it was until he entered this competition.

“It was a little bit different to have a pre-set concept to work with,” Suga said.

The design concept matched my style of painting and in the end, the process brought out the best in me.


Eventually Gold Coast Happy Days will be printed as a 5 meter-long, repeated image on hundreds of meters of fence and displayed there for 18 months.

But for now you will have to visit the Mermaid Beach gallery 19Karen to view some of Go Suga’s other pieces. It is happy days indeed for the Gold Coast and for its Cultural Precinct.

And for Go Suga it is just one more colourful story, on a fence this time.


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