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Sculpture by the Sea: The Norfolk Island connection

Sculpture by the Sea: The Norfolk Island connection

Sydney’s annual Sculpture by the Sea (SXS), from Bondi to Tamarama is now a global attraction drawing artists and audience members from around the world. One of only two female members of the exclusive Decade Club Artists of this iconic sculptural exhibition is Norfolk Island sculptor and jeweller, Margarita ‘Margie’ Sampson. Margie answered the very first call-out for Sculpture by the Sea in 1997 and has contributed ever since. Her work has evolved and flourished along with the event. In recognition of her artistic ability, Margie has been awarded the Andrea Stretton Memorial Prize (2011) and has been guest artist at both the Sydney and Cottesloe SXS festivals.

This year, her exhibit, ‘Voyager I & II’, was placed under the trees far above the ocean; the figures named for the 1970s space probes which carried discs with sounds of earth into space. Margie says that these creatures are also travellers, carrying a precious cargo of plant ecosystems, carefully choosing their next step on a journey to parts unknown. She describes them as ‘shaman creatures, as we are, holding our heritage and walking from our past into our future’. Margie is one of the most multi-talented of an impressively gifted group of art-makers whose work you will encounter when you wander around Norfolk Island. Painters, jewellers, print-makers, ceramicists and wood-workers are creating beautiful works of art in studios, sheds and garages all over the island. You can see Margie’s curving, vermillion steel sculptural installations in the lush garden of Gallery Guava, an art gallery that features works by many of the island’s artists and showcases Margie’s imaginative silver jewellery.

Just as her sculptures range from the large and bold to the small and intimate, in media as diverse as steel, vinyl, silk, silver and timber; her jewellery comes in a stunning variety of media and genres. Margie has a meticulous eye for detail and the delicacy of her jewellery is delightful. For example, her necklaces can be sparse and post-modern or complex concoctions of texture, shape and colour.

Margie’s work is the product of years of study, experimentation and hard work and is deeply influenced by her Norfolk Island background and the environment of ocean, beach and pine forest. In addition to her post graduate arts degree, Margie won a Churchill scholarship which enabled her to study jewellery casting and enamelling in Europe. As a result she created her much loved ‘Wunna’ range of jewellery which pays homage to some of Norfolk’s iconic flora, fauna and cultural crafts in beautiful sterling silver rings, pendants and earrings.

This year, another of Norfolk Island’s artists, Sue Draper, also contributed to SXS. Sue is one of the founders of Gallery Guava and co-artist of Norfolk’s iconic panoramic painting, Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama. She was one of 22 artists from across the Pacific who created sea bird sculptures for the collaborative installation called ‘Transmigration’, entered by Coffs Harbour artist, Jeremy Sheehan. The aim of this environmental artistic project was to raise public awareness of the plastic ocean debris that is killing mutton birds and other sea birds by the thousands.

Each artist was asked to begin with a ‘skeleton’ covered in plastic gathered from their sea shores and then cover it with biodegradable fabric or fibres that represent important aspects of the cultural life of their islands. When the outer layer decomposes, it will expose the plastic debris beneath, representing the sad fate of so many Pacific sea birds.

Sue has had an enduring interest in creating art with items salvaged from the environment. Since the Transmigrationproject, Sue has created a number of paintings on driftwood and she is working on a range of artworks using her burgeoning collection of plastic debris. This is just an indication of the wonderfully creative and eclectic range of artworks by more than a dozen artists that you can enjoy at Gallery Guava.


Image Credit: Sue Draper Bird for ‘Transmigration’ sculpture by Jeremy Sheehan


Article content disclaimer: Article first published in YourWorld, Volume 06 Issue 01, 2016. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.




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