BY BRIAN MOORE
A WEST Cork-born sculptor has been awarded a major international commission in Australia.
Alex Pentek, who lived in Durrus and grew up in West Cork, was 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 all hailing from Australia, Alex was delighted to be invited to submit his proposed installation which will be placed at a busy intersection at Surfers Paradise.
‘I am thrilled to have won this competition as I was the only international artist shortlisted for the project,’ Alex told The Southern Star. ‘I had some strong competition from the other five Australian teams and this means a great deal to be given the opportunity to go back to Australia and to be working on one of the largest sculpture projects being made in Ireland at the moment.’
The Gold Coast commission is entitled ‘Urban Oasis’ and Alex has 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.
Alex will create his sculpture at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork city and then transport the pieces for assembly from Cork to Brisbane in Australia where he will supervise the construction at the site.
‘The work is planned to be installed during the autumn of this year, ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games that are being hosted by the City of Gold Coast,’ Alex said.
Alex is well known for his many outdoor sculptures around the coutry, and one of his works has already become an iconic landmark.
The ‘Kindred Spirits’ memorial in Midleton recalls the response of the Choctaw Nation to the news of Ireland’s suffering during the Great Famine.
To commemorate this extraordinary event, chief Gary Batton and a delegation from the Choctaw Nation will travel to Midleton next Sunday for the official dedication of the memorial, nine 20ft-high eagle feathers arranged in a circular shape, with no two feathers being the same.
‘I found this story of the Choctaw Nation who, in response to the Great Famine, sent (€4,400 today) to help to feed the starving Irish 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.’