Art in nature

The natural world of Kangaroo Island seems to attract and inspire artists and they are complementing nature with outdoor art on display from west to east across the island.

The Platypus Holes Walk at Flinders Chase is a work of art in many ways. Head out from the visitor centre and café, cruise past the megafauna and venture into the lush vegetation regenerating from the fires of December 2007. The information panels are informative and interesting, and complemented by photographs and by intricate illustrations by local artist Nicholas Burness Pike.

Entry to a toilet at Stokes Bay
Entry to a toilet at Stokes Bay

Not quite outdoors is the coastal birdlife mural in the Stokes Bay toilets (men’s and women’s). This project by local artists Lara Tilbrook and Gay De Mather was funded by a Caring for our Country grant in a project designed to draw attention to the plight of beach nesting birds and the threats to them.

At Parndana, the ‘Heartland’ of the island, the entrance statements to the town, are works of art, in the stonework of Thomas Appleby and in the flora and fauna illustrations.

The Town Centres project that helped erect those structures has also left its mark at Kingscote, American River and Penneshaw. Deb Sleeman’s strong statements in wood and metal, with stonework by Thomas Appleby, mark the outer and inner entrances to the island’s main town, Kingscote.

Once in Kingscote, the brightest point is Deb Sleeman’s sculpture for 175th anniversary of South Australian settlement on the corner of Dauncey and Commercial streets.

Dave Clarke's Pelican at American River Wharf
Dave Clarke’s Pelican at American River Wharf

The entry statements and wharf seat with sentinel pelican at American River are the work of sculptor Dave Clarke. At Penneshaw, Dave’s limestone walls feature from the school near the entrance to the walls at the caravan park. His Glossy Black-cockatoos at the school and bronze eagle at the oval add life and colour

On the way to Penneshaw call in to Pennington Bay, where the signs on the vegetation, animal life and geology of the area were brought into being by Eco-action, and local artists and school students.

Artists Jenny Clapson, Nicholas Burness Pike and Maggie Welz with a Pennington Bay sign
Artists Jenny Clapson, Nicholas Burness Pike and Maggie Welz with a Pennington Bay sign
Deb Sleeman's Mary Beckwith memorial with Dave Clarke's Nicholas Baudin memorial in the background
Deb Sleeman’s Mary Beckwith memorial with Dave Clarke’s Nicholas Baudin memorial in the background

Next stop is Baudin Beach where Deb Sleeman (Mary Beckwith memorial) and Dave Clarke (Nicholas Baudin memorial) have been working at their creative best down near the wharf. And the octopus’s garden outside the Artwork Gallery is also Dave’s work.

The journey along Cape Willoughby Road is softened by places for rest and refreshment, which also hold vibrant art, and at Chapman River Cellar Door you are greeted by a Deb Sleeman dress opposite the carpark, which complements the indoor décor.

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying nature and art, and having a restful holiday season. See you in the new year.

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