Client: Sculpture by the Sea
Location: Cottesloe, Australia
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $200,000
B. Jane Cowie
The interactive artwork (that viewers can walk into and be within) is created with colored fish referencing the multicultural society we live within and an elegant stainless steel frame.
Ideas of culture and community, collaboration and consensus are fundamental to the artwork, which uses a school of fish as the metaphor. Memes carry cultural ideas, concepts and practices. Communication from one to another through speech, gestures, writing, the internet, rituals and mimicking provide feedback and information spreads quickly through large and diverse groups. Ultimately the whole is greater than the sum of its parts as different cultures and customs cooperate and collaborate to find a deeper sense of international community - living together in harmony.
The development of the fish form with a support bracket that lets it look effortless and stream lined was a HUGE effort to achieve. I had a vision, an idea, a picture in my mind of how the artwork should look. However the reality of working with actual materials does not always allow this vision to be fully achieved. I knew I had achieved what I wanted - one day – that day I remember clearly – standing in the lane way of the factory, outside in the sun with the glowing amber glass fish, held aloft by Ah Feh, one of men who worked in the factory, and I knew this idea, my idea, would work.
When looking back through the thousands of image and presentations created during the development of the fish shape (for permanent installation in Singapore (Complex Simplicity at the Ocean Financial Centre) and as temporal installation in the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, I realise that my vision for the artwork, due to location and building constrains for the OFC wall installation, meant that my original concept was not fully achieved in this location, but better presented in the round, on the beach as "Swirling Surround".