Award recognises region’s talent as local artist takes win
A BARGARA artist has thanked the community for its support after his thought-provoking work was voted people's choice in a prestigious, statewide competition.
Local artist Paul Perry was voted People's Choice for his stunning entry Shimmering Gold, in the Queensland Regional Art Awards competition.
Using shiny, pearly glass to create the sea, Mr Perry transformed a brown paper bag into a mosaic artwork to symbolise what the last year in isolation has felt like for many of us.
"In one sense, it is the concept of a goldfish being stuck in the bag and what it feels like to be cooped up inside like we have been this year with COVID-19," Mr Perry said.
"It's about recognising isolation but also using this year's theme of decadence as a way to try and overcome it."
Upon hearing the news that he had been voted in as people's choice, Mr Perry said he was appreciative and thrilled for many reasons.
"I don't know how many votes it got but I've been told the piece won by a considerable margin in terms of how many people voted for it, so it obviously resonated with people and others could connect with it," he said.
"But it was also really nice to have a mosaic piece win an award in a competition of that merit, especially because mosaics don't necessarily rate very highly in the art world which is something I'm trying to change."
The artist said he suspects mosaics have diminished as the form of art often holds the image of being a "smash and grab" craft.
"What I have been trying to do is show people that mosaics actually use a lot of skill, technique and thinking to make it a real piece of art, rather than just simply a craft," Mr Perry said.
"The same thing happened with fabric work but in the last 15 to 20 years, fabric and embroidery work has really gone back up again and I hope the same sort of thing can happen for mosaics."
In addition to raising awareness about what goes in to creating a mosaic artwork, Mr Perry said he appreciated Flying Arts for recognising regional artists for their contributions.
"This prize obviously targeted regional artists so the fact that Flying Arts is doing this competition is really to try and profile artists in regional areas and to demonstrate that regional artists not only have skills but are able to leave their own mark," Mr Perry said.
"In terms of me winning People's Choice and to be up there on the front page of the website and to have Bargara and Bundaberg mentioned as part of it, I think it just goes to demonstrate that we actually do have a pretty huge talent here.
"But I really appreciate people supporting local artists and for giving me a chance to be on that awards list."
Currently in the process of finalising his Milbi Magic community project, which will feature a 31m long mosaic panel that Bundaberg Regional Council will install at Archie's Beach next month, Mr Perry said it is a very exciting time for the region.
"I have about three weeks left of work left and I'm currently working on the final panels," he said.
"It's definitely tested my patience especially with delays caused by COVID-19, but I was able to push through and it is looking absolutely fantastic - it will really blow people's minds."
The Bargara artist is working alongside Bundaberg Tourism to create a website for the artwork, with a launch party scheduled to occur at Archie's Beach on December 5, from 4pm.
To keep up to date with the Milbi Magic project, visit the Facebook page by clicking here.