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Tropical Takeover

Imagine art on a grand scale – colourful botanical and animal inspired installations twining themselves over shop fronts, walkways and trees. Not your usual canvas and gallery experience, this is a total Tropical Takeover.

By Anna Dowd.

Over four weeks, the Darwin Waterfront will transform into a giant arts trail through 10 locations from Hot Tamale to Adina Hotel, The Precinct lawns and Stokes Hill Wharf.

The idea for this Darwin-first project was seeded and fertilized by local not for profit organisation Tactile Arts.

Events Coordinator Tess Duke says the vision is about getting local creatives from all age groups and skill levels involved in a different kind of community arts project, but ultimately one that everyone can enjoy.

“Tactile Arts was established after Cyclone Tracy as a way of bringing the community together and that’s very much what we still strive for today. Tropical Takeover is just another expansion on what we’ve always provided.”

Getting art out of the gallery is a personal passion for Duke and 10 years as an architectural glass artist has taught her plenty about the impact of placing art in built environments.

“There's a certain connectedness that happens when artwork is paired well with its surroundings, which affects the buildings as much as the art.”

She says the project is an awesome new challenge for Darwin artists and collaborative groups in terms of making their ideas work in and with a built environment, rather than confining them to the studio or gallery.

“I think it's one of the best surprises, when you come across art in unexpected places, and I'm always amazed by where people's imaginations can go.” 

In recent years public art has enjoyed something of a renaissance worldwide, attracting both controversy and awe. For Duke, works like Kristen Visbal’s sculpture ‘The Fearless Girl’ facing off against Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’, and Melbourne street artist RONE’s giant portraits appearing on derelict buildings, come to mind.

“People are engaging with these works and recognising art has the ability to make something amazing or beautiful out of a space that might otherwise be overlooked.”

The team at Tactile Arts were impressed by the volume and quality of submissions for the 10 Waterfront locations, which included individual artists as well as larger groups such as schools.

It seems there’s some mega talent in our midst and the hope is that the project can launch artists towards new opportunities.

“It’d be great to think, with the strong focus on large scale artworks being a big part of the proposed revitalisation of Darwin’s CBD, there’ll be more opportunities like this that will come their way,” says Duke.

One thing’s for sure – with dense jungle walkways, technicolour trees and large-scale installations, this is an art infiltration that will make your experience at the Waterfront an entirely new one.

Kick off your creative adventure by picking up a copy of the Tropical Takeover Arts Trail map and get in the draw to win a major sponsor prize by voting for your favourite artwork. 

Thu 19 Oct – Sun 19 Nov | Darwin Waterfront

See the event listing. 

Thumbnail and banner image: Isabel Lopes

Above: Tiffany Okazaki and Korin Lesh, 'Tutti-Fruitti Bat Colony' 

Below: Darwin Waterfront



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