Skills shine at IndustrialSWELL

A tribute to the skill and craftsmanship of the Australian marine industry, the inaugural IndustrialSWELL will be on show at The Boat Works, Coomera, as part of the Gold Coast’s iconic SWELL Sculpture Festival.

31 August 2022


IndustrialSWELL at The Boat Works will showcase five Gold Coast artists, including Dion Parker, Rae Saheli, Andrew Cullen, District 23 and Mike Van Dam exhibiting their works curated together around the beachfront section of The Boat Works, from 1 to 18 September.

Artist Dion Parker is putting the finishing touches on his large-scale artwork on site, one of the six pieces that make up the exhibition. Parker has enjoyed making connections among the marine professionals at The Boat Works, and in some instances, renewing ties with fellow boat-builders Dion’s apprenticeship ten years ago at Riviera.

Maddi Thannhauser, Creative Programming Coordinator for SWELL said IndustrialSWELL was an exciting satellite initiative of the main program. “This is the Inaugural IndustrialSWELL, connecting the SWELL Sculpture Festival with the northern Gold Coast community.

“The premise behind it is the celebration of skilled craftspeople and trades. A lot of our artists have previously been boatbuilders or involved in the industry, and then moved on to use these skills in their art.”


Thannhauser continued, “Parker is working on Harry the Huggable Bear. In 2018, when he moved into art full-time, he created Prickles the UnHuggable Bear and won the major Award at SWELL. So, Harry is Prickles’ brother!”

IndustrialSWELL will appeal to yachties as much as it will to locals who flock to SWELL along Currumbin Beach each year since 2003.

An important platform for emerging artists, as well as the forum for the public to experience the work of seasoned international artists and sculptors, SWELL is driven by values such as excellence, inclusivity and collaboration, while encouraging public engagement with art and community.

“These artworks will invite audiences from within the precinct, across the coast and beyond to visit The Boat Works, a thriving community of around 2,000 people on-site, all of them working on these amazing vessels, which are pieces of art themselves.”

The Boat Works’ owner, Tony Longhurst, himself a bricklayer by trade, said they were very pleased and proud to host IndustrialSWELL.

“IndustrialSWELL is a nod to the great skill and expertise of all the creative people in the boating industry,” Longhurst said.

“Some of the artists involved learned their craft working as shipwrights, boatbuilders, boiler makers, and in other industrial areas. IndustrialSWELL will showcase the transfer of skills from traditional industry to artistic sculpture.”

Entry to the event is free and food and beverages will be available on site at Kokomo. IndustrialSWELL at The Boat Works starts 1 September and runs until 18 September.



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