Sculpture trail lures tourists and art to regional South Australia

By / 22nd of April, 2014
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THE Adelaide International Sculpture Symposium is proving a success for South Australia by offering a unique short-term and long-term experience for state visitors.

The recently concluded symposium runs for three weeks and invites tourists to watch eight international sculptors form unique artwork using local stone.

Marketing Manager Chris Steele Scott is delighted to see so many people take an interest in the symposium.

 “We weren’t sure how successful it would be but it was a huge success,” Steele Scott said.

“It’s the opportunity to see the sculptures in the making, rather than just the finished product. So people are fascinated by it,” she said.

The 2012 symposium saw 12000 total visitors while this year’s event is attracting up to 800 visitors in a day.

The sculpture symposium runs in three stages with the first stage back in 2012. The final stage will be in 2016.

During each stage eight sculptures are formed and added to the ‘Hills Sculpture Trail’ which ventures through many townships of regional Adelaide.

Artistic Director Silvio Apponyi came up with the idea of a trail during his travels across Europe.

“You find wonderful sculptures in little out of the way corners. There wasn’t anything like that in the Adelaide Hills,” he said.

Apponyi wanted tourists to find the sculptures, much like puzzle pieces, in different locations across the state.

“People would come across a sculpture in some town somewhere and then they might come across another one.

“They’ll track down and get information about the sculpture trail, and then they might do the whole trail,” Apponyi said.

Adelaide Hills Tourism Project Officer Tamara Bjordal said visitors travel to regional Adelaide to experience the unique lifestyle and the trail is a significant element to this.

“(Tourists) might have a bite to eat with family or friends, have a wander in our towns or villages, and finish off with some shopping or a visit to a winery,

“This is the overall lifestyle experience that people are looking for,” she said.

Chris Steele Scott believes the trail works well as a tourist attraction because it’s always available and easy to access at various points around the state.

“It’s giving tourists something structured to do. The sculptures will be there for many years and it’s something that has an incredible lasting legacy,” she said.

 The symposiums and the trail also encourage artists from around the world to see what’s happening in South Australia.

“There’s a network of sculptors around the world who keep in touch with each other, and the ones that came the first time said ‘it was fantastic in South Australia’, so the word got out,” she said.

Thirty two sculptors from countries such as New Zealand, France, Turkey and Finland expressed their interest for this year’s symposium and only eight of the best were chosen.

There have already been over 60 applications for the third stage of the project to be held in 2016.

Queensland sculptor Hew Chee Fong was thrilled when he was accepted as one of the artists at this year’s symposium and looked forward to learning some techniques developed by the other seven sculptors from around the world. 

“They are international sculptors. For me as an Australian sculptor I got to learn about what’s out there,” Mr Fong said.

Stage two has seen new enterprises take shape to help the Australian arts industry in the future, including mentoring for budding sculptors.

Intern Tim Spooner believes the experience will help him develop skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.

“Many of the interns here are part-time artists, and to do it full time and to work amongst masters of their absolute crafts really is a step-up,” he said.

The Hills Sculpture Trail is currently up-and-running with the first eight sculptures in place.

When all 21 sculptures are set up around the key towns of South Australia the trail is estimated to take three days of sightseeing to complete.

It will stretch 150 kilometres making it the largest sculpture trail in Australia.

The sculptors for the 2014 symposium are

Sakari Peltola – Finland
Jhon Gogaberishvili – Vani, Georgia
Petre Petrov – Bulgaria
Agnessa Ivanova Petrova – Bulgaria
Jocelyn Pratt – Putaruru, New Zealand
Xavier Gonzales – Tessy sur Vire, France
Hew Chee Fong – Queensland, Australia
Canan Sönmezda? Zöngür – Turkey

In 2012 the sculptors were Silvio Apponyi from Australia, Miguel Isla from Spain, Craig Medson from Australia, Hwang Seung-Woo from Korea, Yoshin Ogata from Japan, Kemal Tufan from Turkey, Luke Zwolsman from Australia and Jaya Schuerch from Switzerland.

Images & Media

  • Intern Tim Spooner
  • The 'Hills Sculpture Trail' let visitors see the sculpting process from start to finish.
  • New Zealand Sculptor Jocelyn Pratt
  • Hew Chee Fong's Sculpture
  • The Symposium saw many styles of sculpture take form.