Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures opens to thousands of visitors

Date published: 26 July 2023

Townsville’s preeminent foreshore has been transformed into a buzzing outdoor art exhibition with more than 3,000 people attending the opening night of Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures 2023 on Saturday.

The biennial art competition is now open to the public to enjoy for free at The Strand until Sunday 6 August.

The competition’s $90,000 Acquisitive Prize has been won by Victorian photographer and artist Carla Gottgens for her work RIOT.

In an Instagram post celebrating the win, Gottgens said: “Still pinching myself over this. The red tailed black cockatoos that inspired this artwork have been shy this visit but I’m sure they will appear.”

The $10,000 Artistic Excellence Award was taken out by Chalk River Labs for NIGHT PARROTS, a projection sculpture of a parrot sheltering a fellow parrot with its wing.

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said she was blown away by the calibre of art exhibited in Townsville this year.

Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures 2023 is the pinnacle of art in Northern Australia, with national and international artists bringing their best work to one of Australia’s most stunning beaches for two weeks of incredible art,” Cr Greaney said.

“Congratulations to Carla Gottgens for winning the Acquisitive Prize. RIOT is such a fun piece and I’ll be looking forward to seeing it become a permanent part of Townsville’s landscape in the near future. Well done also to Chalk River Labs for winning the Artist Excellence prize for NIGHT PARROTS, it’s a beautiful sculpture that really tugs at the heartstrings.

“Please head down to The Strand during the next two weeks to soak in Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures 2023, it’s an outstanding exhibition with 31 unique and exciting artworks. As a city that prides itself on being a sustainable destination that embraces the arts, I’d say we’ve nailed the brief with this 16-day event.

“I’d also like to extend my special thanks to our galleries team and our volunteers who are going above and beyond to bring this remarkable event to our city.”

Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures 2023 is open to the public until Sunday 6 August and includes activities like Nelly’s Treasure Hunt which starts with a map at the Ephemera information booth, workshops with artists and getting up close and personal with sand sculptures being created.

The most popular artwork will be judged by Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures 2023 visitors and will receive the wilson/ryan/grose Lawyers People’s Choice Award of $1,000, with voting closing at 11:49pm on Friday 4 August.

To cast your vote online and to check out the full list of activities and programs, visit the Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures website.

Ephemera artwork, Chalk River Labs, Night Parrots 2023.
Caption: Ephemera artwork, Chalk River Labs, Night Parrots 2023.