Ephemera clawing closer

Installation is almost complete on the first Strand Ephemera artwork for 2017, Joy Heylen's 'The Crab.'

It’s install week.

If you have visited the Strand in the past couple of days, you would have seen the makings of the 2017 Ephemera slowly taking shape – from the 180 fit balls buried beside the Rock Pool for Dancenorth’s Tectonic through to the dusty collection of vehicles in front of Strand Park ready for Scott Wade’s dirty car art, the esplanade is already a hive of activity. And the first completed installation will be open to the public from this afternoon.

The Crab by Toowoomba artist Joy Heylen is a monolith of steelwork, standing at almost two metres tall and six metres wide, and can be found beside the Strand Jetty.

Joy said the piece took roughly 350 hours to complete, and will evolve throughout the Festival.

“This is by far the most ambitious artwork I’ve created here – for the last Strand Ephemera I created the Silver Dragon, which was stainless so looked completely different whereas this one is very site-specific,” said Joy.

“It’s made of beautiful Corten steel – so while it is in situ, it will age. Each day that people walk past the crab, they’ll see a different hue of colour. The steel is Australian-made from Brisbane, and is a specific type of steel where, as it rusts, it builds up a protective coating. So in a rusty marine environment, it prolongs its life and looks different every day.

“It’s my third year I’ve been shortlisted and featured in the Strand Ephemera. It kills you to get here but is absolutely amazing once you arrive. The event is expertly run by Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, the staff are incredible to work with and it’s in a beautiful location that makes any artwork look good.”

Townsville Gallery Services’ Louise Cummins said having returning artists like Joy was a testament to Townsville and the Strand Ephemera.

“People don’t come back to art exhibitions or festivals that they’re not confident in or don’t feel represent their art well, so having artists return shows what high-quality artworks are being displayed along the Strand and the professionalism of the staff and the city hosting these events,” Louise said.

“Roughly half of the artists being showcased are locals, which really shows the strength of Townsville artists; that they can show with the best artists in the world and their works are as strong, if not stronger, than those works. It highlights for the people of Townsville exactly what fabulous artists they have in their own backyard and how proud they can be of their city and the talent it’s showing.

“In the 10 days of the festival, there’s over 100 workshops, tours and events for people to come down and meet artists, try their hand at making their own artwork, or learn more about the works along the Strand. More than 2000 school students are already booked in to come down and do tours of the Ephemera artworks over the course of the Festival, and there’s another 2000 students that will visit on top of that. They’re from right across North Queensland too – people from right around the region will be coming here to celebrate with us.”

Find Strand Ephemera pieces being installed along the esplanade over the coming days, before the sculpture festival officially launches this Friday. For more information on what to expect, click here.

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