Local artist awarded Noosa Stone Sculpture Bequest
  • Thursday 30 June 2011

Peachester local and talented stone sculptor, Hew Chee Fong is this year’s recipient of the Noosa Stone Sculpture Bequest.

The Bequest is a national biennial award administered by Sunshine Coast Council and generously funded by an anonymous donor.

This is the second stone sculpture to be acquired through the $200,000 Bequest which now sends Fong to Carrara, Italy for a two-month workshop residency with renowned Studio Corsanini at the end of this year.

Community Policy and Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said Hew Chee Fong was a deserving winner of the prestigious award.

"Many congratulations to Fong, and bon voyage for his two-month residency experience in Italy," she said.

"Carrara, known worldwide for its spectacular marble quarries and international community of sculptors, is where Fong will begin carving the next addition to the stone sculpture walk within Noosa Botanic Gardens.

"His installation is planned for June 2012. And the Noosa Botanic Gardens, located on the shores of Lake Macdonald, near Cooroy – are set to become an important destination for our arts community."

The Sunshine Coast has been Fong’s home for three decades, during which time he has developed a passion for the medium of stone and produced an extensive number of works for exhibitions, private commissions and large-scale public art installations.

The Noosa Stone Sculpture Bequest establishes a ‘Carrara Connection’ for Australian sculptors – which allows the study of both traditional techniques and new technologies to better understand the subtleties of working with marble.

Having worked mainly with granite and basalt, Fong said the physicality of marble, its grains, textures, weaknesses and strengths will augment his stone sculpting skills and present new and invigorating aesthetic challenges.

"Being immersed for a significant period of time in a cultural heartland such as Carrara and to be able to experience the broader context and application of international contemporary sculpture will broaden my horizons," he said.

"Stone elicits such strong emotional responses – from a sea smoothed pebble – to Angkor Wat, the Pyramids of Egypt, Stone Henge. Stone is more than simply an aggregate of minerals; it universally implies all things of an enduring nature – stability, dependability, both timelessness and the passage of time."

This year’s judging panel included well known Queensland sculptor Dr Rhyl Hinwood AM who was enthusiastic about the high standard of entries and looks forward to the piece Fong will bring home from Carrara.

"His style is strong, his finish fine, and the symbolism expressed in his works reveals a depth of universal experience and understanding," Dr Hinwood said.

The official presentation of the award to Fong will be part of the opening event for the Noosa Gallery Travelling Scholarship at the Noosa Regional Gallery on 4 August.

Applications for the next Noosa Stone Sculpture Bequest will open on 1 July 2012 and close on 30 September 2012 – inviting sculptors throughout Australia to participate.

For further information about this unique award please visit www.noosastonebequest.org.au