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Whale of a Time

Whale of a Time

Longevity won’t be an issue with the latest version of this sculpture. Cherry Blossom first appeared as an ice sculpture - complete with spinning cogs - in the 2008 Russian Ice Cup.

After winning the Mayor’s prize its creator, Melbourne-based artist Benjamin Gilbert, constructed a stainless steel version for Bondi’s “Sculpture by the Sea” exhibition.

ASSDA Member Atlas Steels sponsored the project, providing 316 stainless to suit the coastal environment.

Mr Gilbert specified stainless steel for its neutral colour, polishing the surface with stainless wire brushes to allow salts to build up. 

“I don’t really like shiny stainless finishes. A patina is more realistic and neutralises visual effects from its surroundings,” he said.

The panels were both TIG and MIG welded, pickled and polished to achieve a buffed silver leaf effect.

“The work is a combination of Harold Holt mystery and my work with Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society,” Mr Gilbert said.

“It is the first large work I’ve made purely for my own satisfaction in years.”

Cherry Blossom is showing at Canberra’s Corinbank Arts Festival in late February and will then travel to Europe for Denmark’s version of “Sculpture by the Sea” in May.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 45, Summer 2009.

Lissel Pilcher