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BY Chanelle Rodger - rubypublicrelations.com.au | 12-Sep-2014
The 12th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival today announced Daniel Clemmett’s piece “Keeping Up With The Kalashnikovs” as the winner of the major SWELL Sculpture Award, one of seven awards given as part of the 10 day exhibition. @Swell_Sculpture #swellsculpture
Clemmett Daniel Keeping up with Kalashnikovs
Photo by Lexi Spooner

Judged by Chris Saines, Director of the Queensland Art Gallery Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and sponsored by The City of Gold Coast, the $15,000 SWELL Sculpture Award is the most sought after of the festival and this year saw over 60 entrants vying for the coveted prize.

Northern NSW resident Daniel Clemmett's award winning work "Keeping up with the Kalashnikovs" is a striking three metre gun, created using recycled automotive panels and engine bonnets.

Mr Saines said he was impressed with the standard of work from all of the artists.

"Daniel Clemmett's work is a great example of the exceptional standard of pieces in this year's SWELL Sculpture Festival," Mr Saines said.

"It is the work that, in my view, made the most insistent and artistically compelling contribution to the event. I kept returning to Clemmett's work, increasingly feeling that it had made a thoughtful, well resolved and even provocative contribution to the SWELL conversation," he said.

"Daniel Clemmett has fashioned his monumentally-scaled Kalashnikov out of recycled automotive panels, essentially transforming the domestic car into an insurgent's weapon of choice.

"The Kalashnikov is infamously the go-to gun for resistance movements around the world and those who can't afford the high tech weaponry and training of the major powers. By re-fashioning his gun at the scale of a Howitzer, more commonly found at the entry to RSL Clubs and at the base of war memorials Australia-wide, Clemmett clearly has a penchant for irony, which isn't lost in the 'Keeping up with the (Kardashians)' overlay of his title."

"The organisers are to be congratulated on having again staged one of the most diverse and engaging outdoor sculpture events to be found in Australia. I applaud the overall quality and ambition of SWELL and am confident that this year's event will again attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Currumbin Beach."

Director Natasha Edwards says the festival was thrilled to have Mr Saines be part of the judging panel this year, further evidence of the standing the festival holds in the Queensland artistic landscape.

"Each year the festival extends its influence, with more on offer for those who attend. This year is no exception. The works presented by local, national and international artists are spectacular and we're expecting audiences to embrace and appreciate them," Ms Edwards said.

"It was a privilege to have Chris Saines judging the major award this year," she continued.

"His involvement added real depth to the festival, and his response to the unique interplay of sculptures set amongst the dunes, sand and rocky outcrops of the Currumbin foreshore was heartening.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate congratulated all the winners and encouraged Gold Coast residents to visit Currumbin beach and experience world-class art works.

"The SWELL Sculpture Festival is a wonderful celebration of our spectacular natural environment and vibrant cultural community," said Councillor Tate.

"City of Gold Coast is proud to support the festival and help bring world-class art from local, national and international artists to the people of the Gold Coast to enjoy and experience.

"I warmly congratulate all the winners today and encourage Gold Coast residents to come down to Currumbin and enjoy spectacular outdoor art at its best."

Swell Sculpture Festival congratulates the following artists:

City of Gold Coast
Winner: Daniel Clemmett "Keeping Up With The Kalashnikovs"
Judged by Chris Saines, Director, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art

Max Fabre Foundation
Winner: Michael Van Dam "Intervention"
Selected by Katrina Brown & Leanne Sanderson

Jennie Neumann OAM
Winner: Glen Star "Erebus"
Selected by Jennie Neumann's Family

Groove Cafe
Winner: Jina Lee "Harmony"
Selected by the 2014 Exhibiting Artists

There are three further awards, The People's Choice Award, Kids' Choice Award and Swell Smalls Gallery People's Choice Award judged by SWELL visitors over the 10 days that will be announced on Sunday 21st September.

Now in its 12th year and raising the bar to 70 artists, SWELL brings awe-inspiring beachside sculpture to the Gold Coast with free live entertainment, workshops, kids activities, performance art, night lighting, artist talks, fire shows and more from 12th – 21st September.

The 10-day festival will see Currumbin Beach transformed into a one kilometre long sculpture park featuring a mix of dynamic public artwork, from monumental to miniscule, by Australian and international artists, including sculptors from the UK, Turkey, Germany, South Korea and Belgium.

SWELL Sculpture Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts and through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a vibrant calendar of events on offer throughout the state.