BY BRIAN MOORE
A WEST CORK sculptor is the only international artist in the running for a major commission in Australia.
Alex Pentek, who grew up in West Cork, is one of only five artists invited to submit plans for a €200,000 commission for the city of Gold Coast in Queensland Australia.
With the other four artists hailing from Australia, Alex is delighted to be invited to submit his proposed installation, which would be placed at a busy intersection at Surfers Paradise.
‘I am delighted to be included in this competition,’ he said. ‘It’s a very interesting commission and the site is a busy city-centre junction so it was a challenge to come up with a design that would not only fit with the brief but would also add to the area which, is a major intersection and is a busy commercial centre,’ Alex told The Southern Star.
The Gold Coast commission is entitled ‘Urban Oasis’ and the artists have been tasked with representing the diversity of the natural environment of the region.
‘The area incorporates what is known as one of the most diverse sub tropical littoral rain forests, Mangroves and other rare species of flora and fauna,’ Alex said.
‘The brief also states that the piece must be permeable, or you must be able to see through it. Because of the corrosive environment, I want to use marine grade stainless steel. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about my submission until the results of the competition are announced.’
Alex has just arrived back from making his presentation to the judges in Australia. ‘Each artist was given 30 minutes to present their proposed piece. I used a PowerPoint presentation as well as a model and a 3D walkthrough,’ Alex said.
Alex is well-known for his pieces, which are the highlight of many outdoor spaces across the country. One of these sculptures, which has become a landmark in Midleton, is the Kindred Spirits memorial, which remembers the response of the Choctaw Nation to the news of the suffering during the Great Famine.
‘I found this story of the Choctaw Nation who, in response to the Great Famine, sent to help to feed the Irish starving men women and children,’ Alex said.
‘It was only 16 years earlier when the Choctaw were forced from their native land by the American government in what is now known as the trail of tears, making this act of kindness even more significant.’
If successful, Alex will create his sculpture at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork city and then transport the pieces for assembly from Cork Port to Brisbane in Australia, where he will supervise the construction at the site. The judges will announce the winner of the competition on Friday, June 24th.