A Mountain of Highlights See Records Tumble at the Best Lake Light Sculpture Ever

Raise One to the Old Jindabyne Hotel by Brad Spalding

The planets aligned perfectly this Easter for the Jindabyne Lake Light Sculpture event in the Snowy Mountains with organisers declaring the 19th instalment the best ever. Ideal weekend weather saw the community come together with a record number of visitors to view the impressive lakeside exhibition.

New highs were hit right across the weekend with the popular Easter event hosting 26,500 visits, there were 160 exhibits on display, a prize pool of over $25,000 and sculpture sales significantly topping previous years.  

The event, for established emerging and novice sculptors, lined the foreshores of the majestic Lake Jindabyne and the weekend saw a steady stream of viewers from sun-up to late in the night. Visitors were encouraged to view the sculptures in daylight and to return at night to see them illuminated, two totally different aspects.

New faces and festival favourites featured in this year’s winners list. The 160 exhibits featured all forms of sculpture with a diversity in style and mediums, but it was Sydney artist Jan Cleveringa who took out the top prize of $10,000 for his piece Imagining the past before it happens.

With a backstory of sustainability, the emerging artist was ecstatic with the win.

“This gives me the recognition to move forward, giving me more freedom to travel and create something new.

The piece is a statement of sustainability – to ensure we design products that have a future, we need to ask, what is the use of the product and how can it be used in the future? You can buy one of these globes for $7.50, so here we have $37,500 worth of waste that works,” said Jan.

Taking nine hours to assemble on-site, held together by gravity, around 5000 discarded light globes are woven into a circle, giving the fragile globes strength and ironically the sculpture is solar powered.

The highly contested Illumination Award was won by local Brad Spalding, for his floating plywood, metal and spandex sculpture Raise One to the Old Jindabyne Hotel. The sculpture sat off-shore and was a scale image of the Old Hotel Jindabyne that now rests under Lake Jindabyne after they flooded the “old town” for the Snowy Hydro project in the early 1960’s.

The single silhouette structure created a stirring night scene, where you could almost hear the chinking of glasses and chatter of times now past.

Drawing inspiration from the mountain environments of Canberra and Kosciuszko, Canberra artist Melinda Brouwer picked up the Small Sculpture Award and $2,000 for her stoneware sculpture Granite. The Smalls Exhibition boasted a record 40 entries.

Granite by Melinda Brouwer

The Snowy Monaro Environment Award winner was local Jindabyne artist Darragh Walsh for his steel piece Light Within – it is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light within. Lake Light Sculpture 2021 saw three generations of their family exhibit.

Light Within by Darragh Walsh

The competitive school’s category was too close to call with Jindabyne Central School year’s 8 and 9 piece Oblivious to Oblivion sharing first prize with the school’s year 4 creation of Faces of the Future.

The prize power was also with the visitors, 1400 votes were cast in the Peoples Choice categories. Kiah artist Jesse Graham unanimously picked up the prize for his piece 2020 Vision. After losing his house and workshop in the 2020 bushfires, he was committed to creating a sculpture for this year’s event. The imposing creation consists of salvaged materials from his razed property, it was intriguing to get up close and find elements of previous entries artfully entwined in the piece, including the winner of the 2018 Lake Light event.

Murry Cod by Stuary Taylor

Stuart Taylor of Deniliquin with his Murray Cod won the People’s Choice illuminated award with What a Hoot by Jindabyne’s Victor Novello picking up the Small Sculpture accolade.

Banjo Paterson Park was the heart of the festival and featured a power packed accompanying line-up to the sculptural exhibits.

Saturday night’s Celebration of Art & Light in Banjo Paterson Park was a highlight, around 4,000 picnicking families and friends imbibed in the twilight food market and immersed themselves in traditional dance with the Yuin Nation Djaadjawan dancers. The digital light show filled the area with sound and colour, including the kaleidoscope projection on the large Strzelecki monument

“The entire organising Committee could not have anticipated the incredible vibe and mood of the night and were quite emotional as their vision for the evening was executed far beyond their expectations,” said Lisa.

Champion chainsaw sculptor Rob Bast enthralled visitors with his energetic carving, turning a block of wood into life size pieces of art.  The self-taught sculptor crafted many pieces across the weekend including a wedged tail eagle, dingo, owls and a platypus.

Lake Light Sculpture is a community event, the passionate committee is supported by a team of 70 volunteers, along with a long list of loyal sponsors and supporters. “After a series of set-backs impacting our region in the last year, it’s really wonderful to see people out and about once again. We would like to acknowledge and thank all that supported the return of Lake Light Sculpture, the success of this year’s event is testament to the community we live in,” said Lisa.

Back to Stories