SWELL Sculpture Festival seeks artist submissions for 2021

Entries are now open for the 19th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival with over $27,000 in award money, artist subsidies, residencies, programming and installation support on offer.

Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition has announced applications are officially open to international and Australian artists to exhibit at the upcoming SWELL Sculpture Festival.

The free 10-day outdoor exhibition will take place from 10 to 19 September 2021 as the festival presents the small, medium and large-scale sculpture installations and digital works from more than 50 Australian and international artists.

The SWELL Sculpture Festival is open to all mediums of sculpture and an opportunity for artists to shine in the public light on shared land.

SWELL Sculpture Festival Executive Director Dee Steinfort encourages applicants to be brave and bold.

“We invite artists to tell their stories through sculpture to share it with the world. It’s an opportunity for applicants to be brave, bold and daring in their creativity when putting together submissions.

“We are seeking exhibits that not only connect people, art and place but also art that challenges the imaginations of our audience,” she says.

SWELL is known for being a platform for artists at all stages of their careers, and warmly welcomes first time and emerging exhibitors. Generous prize money aside, the exposure gained by exhibiting one’s work at SWELL really can’t be underestimated, according to previous SWELL exhibitor, Gold Coast artist Lisa Sorbie Martin.

“Natasha [Edwards, SWELL Co-founder and Artistic Director] has been one of my greatest advocates,” says Lisa, who now leverages her artistic talents into her own business as well as regular commissions.

“SWELL was that event that catapulted me into the public art arena, and from there onwards I’ve done quite a few public artworks.”

Lisa most recently helped design and work on large scale installation SkyWeave at Bleach* Festival’s Burleigh hub, and is one of the artists who has been selected to exhibit at the massive inaugural program for HOTA Gallery’s 2021 opening. In addition, she has undertaken the design of several lanterns that currently hang in a Brisbane CBD street, and several other commissions.

“I would so encourage emerging and upcoming artists to enter SWELL,” Lisa says, “even artists that have been around for ages – I’d been an artist for 20-odd years before I displayed at SWELL.”

“Creating art in the public space and in the community that really excites me” Lisa continues.

“It’s like getting your art off the four walls of the gallery, out of an institution and into a community that needs to see beautiful art, that needs to see these stories being told. You can bend people’s thought processes. SWELL is such a fabulous way to do that, because the community have really engaged with the festival.”

Successful applicants will be vying for their share of a coveted prize pool totaling $27,000, with the major award winner taking home $15,000 cash. Exhibiting artists will not only gain exposure and the chance at the prizes, but also have the opportunity to meet and network with other exhibiting artists, share stories and a meal or two, and make lifelong personal and professional connections.

Artist submissions can comprise of completed works, works in progress or concepts. Artists can submit applications online up until midnight on Sunday 31 January 2021. Apply at swellsculpture.com.au.

IMAGE: Ragnar v Moby by Robert Guenther at 2020 SWELL (C) Zoe Roubler

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