Their rolling hills and majestic scenery make for the perfect backdrop to the region’s first ever sand sculpture exhibition, ‘The Art of Music’.
Located at the prestigious Cope-Williams Winery in Romsey, the Sand Art Gallery has invited eight of the world’s most talented sculptors to create mammoth masterpieces presented in a gallery format for the first time in Australia.
Hailing from Russia, Ireland, Holland, Canada, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium and Singapore, the celebrated sculptors had 20 tonnes of sand each to produce a piece of art portraying their interpretation of the theme ‘The Art of Music’.
Running until the end of September, the exhibition was organised by Rosemary Gallicchio and artist Leo Vamvalis, who has been in the sand sculpting industry for 15 years.
“We wanted to bring this craft to Australia in more of an artistic rather than commercial way, where sculptors are free to create artistic sculptures from what they believe from within,” Mr Vamvalis said.
Proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the Cope-Williams Art Foundation, with the aim of creating opportunities for young artists in the Macedon Ranges to pursue their passion.
Established in 2006 by Gordon & Judy Cope-Williams, the foundation provides financial support to young classical musicians and the visual arts community in Victoria.
“It’s difficult for young artists in the region to get recognised and find the funds to progress,” Mr Vamvalis explained.
“The foundation is about giving them a bit of a boost to help them get to where they want to in their chosen craft.”
Ms Gallicchio has four children who share an avid passion for art and history, and has experienced first-hand the challenges that young artists living in rural areas face.
Her daughter Issabella Cimino, 19, endures six hours of public transport a day to attend her Diploma of Visual Arts at Swinburne University of Technology, aspiring to become a comic book artist.
Mr Vamvalis and Ms Gallicchio are hoping to attract 100,000 visitors to the Sand Art Gallery’s first exhibition, which offers an experience worlds away from anything else in Australia.
Each 20-tonne masterpiece took seven days of tireless work to create, and one of the artists’ sculptures collapsed on day four of the production phase.
“He couldn’t rebuild it; he had to just take that new shape and start creating something totally different,” Ms Gallicchio said.
“The elements can also be challenging, but our state-of-the-art dome marquees cover the sculptures and protect them.”
The highlight of the exhibition is a grandiose wall crafted by Dutch sculptor Sussane Russler and Russian artist Ilya Filimonstev out of 40 tonnes of sand.
Dedicated to the northern Italian lagoon city of Venice, the wall portrays two women wearing Venetian masks and celebrates the way Italian culture integrates art and music.
The homage to Venice was inspired by the pair’s recent travels to Italy, when Ms Gallicchio visited her father Gianfranco’s hometown of Calvello, Basilicata, and discovered her family history.
“We brought home masks from Venice for visitors to wear and take photos with in front of the wall,” Ms Gallicchio said.
‘The Art of Music’ embodies the beauty of nature, music, art and Italy in a truly unique way and provides the perfect opportunity to escape to the country for a weekend and discover one of Victoria’s most vibrant art communities.