Unique exhibition knows no pier

An illustration of how this year's Queenscliff Art Prize exhibition will look. (Supplied)

By Justin Flynn

Queenscliff pier will come to life this November when more than 80 works by Australian artists will be exhibited above the water.

‘The Queenscliff Art Prize’ is the brainchild of Chris MacLeod and his brother Adam. They will install the artworks to the handrail of the southern side of the pier.

Artists from across the country have submitted works for the exhibition, including multiple works by local indigenous artists Billy-Jay O’Toole, Jessi Rebel, Jenna Oldaker and Norm Jurrawaa Stanley.

Mr MacLeod said his family has had roots in Queenscliff for almost 170 years.

“My family have been there since the 1850s,” he said.

“Jack Wells was my great great grandfather and was a cook on the schooner, Rip, that sank in 1873.”

Mr MacLeod said the idea for the exhibition “steamrolled” after initially going for a walk along the pier.

“It came about by roundabout means, as they often do,” he said.

“I found myself in Queenscliff and walked down to the pier and thought ‘what have they done to the pier?’ The sand has built up so much.

“The art was going to be attached to the pylons and be partially exposed at high tide.

“I had this crazy idea with the waves washing around it to putting it up on the handrail.”

Mr MacLeod believes the exhibition will bring tourist dollars to the town.

“Sometimes art can be a bit intimidating in a gallery if you’re not really an art person,” he said.

“This will be less intimidating and people will enjoy it.

“It’s an outdoor setting and it’s an ever changing natural environment.

“People will spend money in the town before and after seeing it.

“It’s COVID-Safe and wheelchair friendly. I’m hoping it will be an annual event. I think it will be great.”

The Queenscliff Art Prize will run for six months starting November 1.