Home / World News / Subiaco artist Monia Allegre meditates on Ocean Hues at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2022

Subiaco artist Monia Allegre meditates on Ocean Hues at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2022

French sculptor Monia Allegre sees herself as a citizen of the world, having grown up in Paris after her parents moved there from Belgrade in the 1950s, and herself moving to Perth with her husband in 2003.

Allegre comes from the generation of French students who had free access to The Louvre, regarding the museum during her youth as her second home, where she would wander around, sometimes drawing or sitting for hours in front of a masterpiece to soak it in.

“Art is quite a meditative process through visual trigger and so I was really fortunate to have cultural growth through that,” she said.

“It’s the only thing I know; it’s not a hobby, it’s my passion and profession.”

While majoring in sculpture at the Parsons School of Design in Paris, she noticed her desire for working big, enjoying the technical challenge that comes from large, heavy materials.

“When I arrived here in Australia, an art consultant commented on how big my works were and suggested I do public art,” she says.

“It’s true that what I like about art nowadays is that it’s accessible to all, not only as a free environment so people don’t have to pay, but also accessible visually and intellectually.

“I don’t believe people should think they don’t know anything about art. I think if people are more exposed to it, probably more would react to it. It’s not something elitist and it should never be.”

After raising three children through to their teenage years, and a few years as a UWA lecturer, Allegre finally found the time to exhibit at her first Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe in 2021 with her glazed fired clay sculpture of an oil drilling rig.

Sculptures by the Sea: Subiaco artist Monia Allegre with Ocean Hues.
Camera IconSculptures by the Sea: Subiaco artist Monia Allegre with Ocean Hues. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

The lover of site specific works has moved on to aluminium in 2022 for Ocean Hues, her wreath-like sculpture of paddles, designed using WA kayaker Jack Trail’s paddle he competed with at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as a prototype.

“Ocean Hues comes from living here in Perth,” she explains.

“I’m always amazed by Australians being so close to the ocean and for me it’s still unfathomable that someone can actually swim to Rottnest Island.

“Everyone who does water sports always look so graceful and I wanted to take a paddle to create an artwork that’s suggesting some kind of movement, swirl and rhythm that the ocean imposes onto us. I wanted to defy gravity as well, so I took these paddles, arranging them into a swirl where it’s making a circle when you view it from one point and then the dynamism created by the paddles, that are slightly angled from each other, for me creates a dialogue between the ocean and the viewer.”

Not having her own metalwork studio, Allegre was initially anxious about turning her vision into a reality until Capral Aluminium accepted her request for sponsorship, and it was Nigel Williamson from the company who had the connection to Trail, known for still paddling along the Cottesloe coast.

Visitors to Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe from March 4 to 21 will find Ocean Hues, among the 70 sculptures, on the sand to the right of the Indiana Tea House when looking at the water.

Her hope is for everyone, even those non-sporty types like herself, to find their own kind of meditation in the piece, perhaps like she did all those years ago at The Louvre.

“It might even take a minute or two, just to look at the colours reflected off this beautiful texture of the metal,” Allegre muses.

“And look at the ocean and sand, how they make one with this sculpture. It is a sensory voyage.”

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is at Cottesloe Beach, March 4 to 21.

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