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Intertidal Artwork Whitsundays
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Underwater artwork becomes the Whitsundays newest attraction 11:31am, Thu 14 Mar 2019

UPDATE: 14th March, 2019

A local Airlie Beach man, Adriaan Vanderlugt was one of the lucky artist chosen to commission one of six sculptures that are to be placed in various locations around the Whitsundays designed to combine tourism benefits and reef rehabilitation.

"It took me a lot of drawings to get to that stage" he said.

I've been sculpting for 50 years and I was saying to a mate the other day it took me all those 50 years to get me where I am today."

A 3.2m wide aluminium mata-ray will be his pride sculpture with Indigenous artist Arthur Gaby responsible for the intricate drawings etched in to the aluminium and tells a Dreamtime story.

There are 74 different sized circles representing the 74 islands of the Whitsundays. The largest circle is Whitsunday Island where Gaby's grandmother was born. Serpents on the manta-ray's wings and its "U" shapes are the Aboriginal symbol for people.

UPDATE: 14th January, 2019

The trial installation of the underwater artworks at Langford Island were a success and so was the public call to artists with 73 submissions of artworks for consideration and the permanent underwater sculptures.

An independent selection panel considered all the applications put forward and decided the permanent artwork will consist of a turtle, manta ray, coral polyp and an indigenous sculpture ‘Bwya’ containing 12 local species of fish and sharks.

The largest sculpture is 6m and  are made from a variety of materials including concrete, stainless steel and aluminium. The plan is to locate the sculptures underwater where they can be viewed by snorkelers and SCUBA divers.

There is ongoing discussion with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and stakeholders about the preferred location(s) of the artworks in the Whitsunday region. One of the objectives of the public art project is to provide new or enhanced tourism experiences at sites damaged by Cyclone Debbie. With the art pieces having a marine wildlife theme, we believe they will provoke conversation, education and deeper consideration of the marine environment.

09, August, 2018

In a Queensland first, Langford Reef in the Whitsunday Islands will become home to a new installation of underwater and inter-tidal art.

A trial installation of the artwork is being funded through the Queensland Government and Federal Government’s $7 million Tourism Recovery Fund to assist the Whitsundays tourism industry post Cyclone Debbie.

Four sculptures by local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt were unveiled at the annual Whitsunday Reef Festival (2 - 5 Aug, 2018), which will provide a new experience for people travelling to the Whitsundays and help the marine tourism sector recover after Cyclone Debbie.

The artwork includes sculptures of fish, a nudibranch and a crab, all varying in size and weighing up to 300 kilograms with one already located at Langford Island near Hayman.

Bareboat charterers can visit the locations and see the artwork first hand with each piece  being moved from the beach to intertidal to underwater environments a month at a time and the artworks will be secured and monitored to prevent interference and damage.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said to lure more visitors to the Whitsundays, we need to invest in new tourism product. Around the world - from the Caribbean, to the Maldives, Spain, Bali and Australia’s west coast, underwater art has been used to lure visitors.


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