Yinnar Sculpture Culture

Shine: The sunlight showcases the fine details of 'Germination' by Rob Bast. Photographs Zaida Glibanovic



DRIVING through Yinnar, you will see plenty of art as the 2023 Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition (GSE) begins.

The fourth biennial year of the show started on March 26 and had more than 80 sculpture entries.

The exhibition will run for seven weeks and concludes on May 7.

The show highlights sculptural works from local emerging talent and established and renowned artists.

There are 68 interior sculptures inside the Arc Gallery, with 30 larger-than-life exterior structures decorating the main street. Seventy artists from all over Australia have entered the cash prize, with famous names like renowned sculptor Peter Schipperheyn presenting and judging the show.

The sculptures are of all different sizes, colours, shapes and meanings, with the artists working with various mediums, transforming steel, stone, wood, ceramic, and bronze into one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Many of the pieces on show incorporate recycled and repurposed materials, making for stunning yet sustainable artwork.

The winner of the outdoor exhibition ‘Big Red’ by Neil Findley won the $10,000 prize. The prominent red kangaroo structure was made entirely from old dozer chains. In the Arc Galley, Jimmy Rix’s ‘Dunbi the Owl’ took out the interior exhibition.

As an artist, Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition Chair Nicole Allen saw the artistic potential of the picturesque town.

“I came back from doing a show in Canada, and it was the same sort of thing, it was a small town that lost its industry, needing more people to come into town,” she explained.

Founding the Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition in 2017, Ms Allen has seen the event’s growth thanks to the continued community support.

“It brings more people into town; it’s great for business in town, it’s also educating in a way, the farmers are getting into it and making sculptures as well, out the back there’s a farmer that’s made a dog solely out of gum boots.”

Ms Allen admits the show is quite the team effort.

“You get the support from the whole community; you’ll ring a farmer and say, ‘hey, we need a hand installing big red’, so one of the guys from a local farm came with his tractor to lift this sculpture into place so it’s been great, the support.”

Everyone in Yinnar gets behind the art show, including the children.

“We did this project, a Koala project sponsored by Mirboo North Community Foundation, we made up eight koalas and gave them to surrounding schools from Mirboo North Secondary, Boolarra Primary School, Yinnar South and Yinnar Primary School, and they decorated them. They’re on the light poles going towards the oval,” she said.

Over the course of the exhibition, there will be demonstrations for young and old every Sunday, mosaic workshops, artists’ talks, refreshments, local musicians, entertainment, and a chainsaw carving demonstration, a little something for everyone.

This Sunday, (April 23) the exhibition has organised a mosaic workshop with the talented Kristy Mills for anyone to come and enjoy.

The show has two more $1000 people’s choice prizes for grabs: The Townsend Family People’s Choice Award and The Matchbox Gallery Award, so make sure to vote on your favourite pieces.

If you have yet to walk through the exhibition, it’s time for you to get down to Yinnar and bring the kids for an immersive artistic experience.

Spin: Paul Jesse’s ‘Aeon’ sculpture rotates like a globe.
Winner: Jimmy Rix’s ‘Dunbi the Owl’ took out the interior exhibition at the Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition.
Head: Chair of the Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition, Nicole Allen.
Buzz: Local artist Kristy Mills with her mosaic piece titled ‘Nectar of the Bees’.