With the 10th anniversary exhibit of Sculpture By The Sea opening on Friday, March 7, X-Press caught up with Kasane Low, one of the 74 artists displaying their work on the shores of Cottesloe Beach.
“The sculpture is called Sea Of Fortune and I first got the idea at Cottesloe beach. Obviously the most striking thing is the beautiful blue water and the white sand, but when I went down I noticed tiny white shells that were getting washed up on the beach.”
“For this sculpture I made like thousands of white porcelain fortune cookies, and I am going to pile them on the sand so it’s going to look like they’ve just washed up, and so when you get closer you realise it’s not shells, it’s fortune cookies. I thought about what brings a shell to a certain beach, or what brings a ship or person. Because of that idea of fate or fortune or random chance that brings them to our shore. So many people, settlers and migrants that came here to seek their fortune. So in the cookies they’ll have little messages, little excerpts from First Settlers and migrants when they first arrived here.”
“I myself am a migrant to Australia, but you could say most of the population is since the 1950s. That’s why it interests me talking about movement. Not always about migration, but I guess in this work it is more about it, because the sea, the beach, the journey of the shells. Perth was my first landing in Australia. I guess this project is important to me as it is connected to that.”
Of course the outside environment presented its own challenges, so Low managed to adapt her original concept and add a further layer to her work’s theme. “The sculpture will be contained in a big Perspex box, so it looks like a museum box. We thought that worked, as the cookies contained these historical messages, that they would be containers of memory. And the box would also contain all those little memories inside it as well. Which is what a museum box is really, a container of memories”
The sheer amount of work involved in the sculpture took its toll in time. “It took months and months and months. There are thousands of little cookies in there. I was aiming for 10,000. I haven’t been able to do a head count, but there’s a lot.”
Yet this investment is something Low is very familiar with. Her work is often created with small complex objects repeated multiple times to form a greater whole. “Something in my work that I’ll always do, I’ll always have this theme of repetition.” With laugh she admits it’s a little “…obsessive and manic.”
“Sculpture By The Sea makes art accessible to everyone. It’s art for the outdoors, it’s not just hidden away only accessible to elitists. It’s put out there in an open space for everyone to interact with. I think that’s what all great art should do.”