display inside


Following the memorable and moving debut of the Anzac Art project in 2015, Currumbin RSL and Swell Sculpture Festival commissioned me to revitalise and reinstall the carpet of 5000 handmade poppies to once again form an evocative backdrop to the Anzac Day dawn service at Elephant Rock, Currumbin, Queensland.

The 2015 Anzac centenary dawn service event had drawn an estimated 35,000 attendees and it was envisioned that an audience of up to 20,000 could attend in 2016.

The project, which highlights themes of conflict, environment and community, would again involve voluntary community assistance to ensure its success. With a tight deadline, I'd also rely on my partner, Tony Butler, for his ongoing commitment.

The strips of netting with attached poppies had been stored for 12 months, so the first step in preparing for this year's event was to inspect them to ascertain what would be required to again create another spectacular backdrop.

Over a 3 day period in April, the strips of netting were transported to a temporary workspace opposite Currumbin RSL (under the shelter provided by the Fishing Club's quarters), then hung to wash off the salt and sand that had accumulated during its 2015 exposure.

Volunteers from RSL's Fun and Ageless group and Swell Sculpture assisted us in the process of hand cleaning the poppies, removing damaged pieces and creating additional poppies, which were then painted and attached to fill the voids.

It had been decided that the Poppy piece should be draped differently rather than copying the 2015 display and that by utilising strips of red LED lighting, an awesome night viewing experience could also be provided. Swell Sculpture procured abundant strips of lighting for this to eventuate.

With the fantastic abseiling efforts of Chris Roberts (Rope Access and Rescue) the strips of lighting were hung down over the Rock of Remembrance before he then commenced the task of draping the newly revamped net of poppies over the top of the lighting.

The Anzac Poppy Art Project was installed on 17 April and de-installed on 26 April 2016.

Another beautifully moving display was achieved and once again it was another proud moment to be involved in such an impressive community art installation, which, with the Currumbin dawn service televised worldwide, drew favourable feedback from across the globe.

Materials: Recycled PET bottles and lids, shark netting and red LED lighting strips.

Dimensions: Variable

Exhibited: Anzac Day 2016 – Currumbin RSL and Swell Sculpture