Coffs Coast Art Prize – Coffs Central

It’s your last chance to see the 2020 Coffs Coast Art Prize exhibition at Coffs Central. When you go, be sure to check out work by Coffs Coast sculptor John Van Der Kolk which provides the opportunity to peer inside the brain of the creative whiz.

Whether it’s a massive industrial installation or a cute and quirky creation like ‘Leviathan’ – the winner of the sculpture award in the Coffs Coast Art Prize – they all begin as a spark in the 61-year-old’s mind. And in the case of ‘Leviathan’, which features an elegant humpback whale carrying sails and a town on its back, there is also the essence of a child’s imagination.

“Over the years I have developed the skills to make the things I imagined as a 12-year-old,” John says.

“The intended viewer of ‘Leviathan’ is the inner child in everyone – there’s a lot happening in it.”

The work is part of a series of journey-themed creations, of great objects that move, and the placement of the buildings of a town on the whale gives massive properties to the mighty mammal.

“There’s a big story there, you can look at it and imagine what’s going on,” John says.

“It’s great to see people looking at it and one will say what they think what it is, and another will have a completely different idea.”

Despite the work giving the impression that the whale is enormous, the sculpture itself is one of John’s smaller projects. Before its creation he was working with 36 tonnes of concrete at the Jetty Foreshores, and he is currently at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) in the Northern Territory working on the long-running installation for the visitor centre.

“Often the piece I am making is a refuge from the previous one – if the last one was a big project, I will escape next to something much smaller, and it works the other way too,” he says.

‘Leviathan’ has been purchased by Gowings and will become part of the free Coffs Central Sculpture and Artwork Trail throughout the centre. The collection includes a number of works from Bondi’s Sculptures By The Sea and local artists.

This year’s Coffs Coast Art Prize drew works from 110 entrants. The winners are:

Major Award: Jane Wilson ‘Pensive’
Highly Commended: John Leary ‘Le Massif’
Sculpture Award: John Van Der Kolk ‘Leviathan’
Highly Commended: Peter Wade ‘My Keyboard, Number 3’
Youth Award: Arlia Portus Keen ‘Woman’
Highly Commended: Felicity Redman ‘Sleepy Terrace’

You can view the exhibition and vote for your favourite piece at Coffs Central until this Saturday.

Friday and Saturday, October 16 + 17. Upstairs at Coffs Central.

See opening times here.