Clunes artist Daniel Clemmett and Byron Bay Writers’ Festival director Candida Baker with Mr Clemmett’s half-tonne sculpture titled Embracing the Plateau.
Clunes artist Daniel Clemmett and Byron Bay Writers’ Festival director Candida Baker with Mr Clemmett’s half-tonne sculpture titled Embracing the Plateau. Jay Cronan

Sculptures express festival spirit

AS SCULPTURES were brought on to the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival site yesterday, project manager and curator of the festival’s Sculpture Competition Dev Lengjel watched in awe.

“This is sculpture of an international standard,” Mr Lengjel told The Northern Star.

“The pieces that have been entered in this competition are fine examples of what I would call contemporary populism.”

The largest piece in the competition is by Clunes sculptor Daniel Clemmett.

His Venus de Willendorf weighs half a tonne and was made of the underside of car bonnets.

Mr Clemmett’s muse for the work was the 11cm Venus figure estimated to have been made between 24,000 and 26,000 years ago.

“Most of my work is based around re-interpretations of contemporary ideological constructs,” Mr Clemmett said.

“If there had been hotels back then, there would have been aVenus fertility symbol in every room instead of a copy of the Bible.

"It was a god symbol.

“My wry commentary is the juxtaposition of an old construct, of a god figure, into what we now might call a morbidly obese one.

“And who knows how that might be re-interpreted in another 40,000 years!”

Mr Clemmett has been juggling sculpting for the past 12 weeks with the care of his new baby.

“I think there’s some irony in the fact that I subverted an ancient fertility symbol and the universe has responded by sending me a child,” he said with a laugh.

The 42 sculptures will be judged by festival guest and speaker Betty Churcher, who is best known for having been the director of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in the 1990s.

The winner will receive $8000.



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