Turtles of a different kind have begun taking up space along the region's coastline as part of a local community art initiative.
Milbi Magic Mosaics is a project organised by Bargara artist Paul Perry which began at last year's Milbi Festival .
Paul said the project was driven by community workshops of public art which would culminate in the installation of a large mosaic mural on the public amenities block at Bargara later this year.
He said the project also featured smaller mosaic artwork displayed along the region's coastline, which is something that had been giving regular walkers a nice little surprise this week.
“We have recently installed 47 mosaic turtles along the Turtle Trail between the Turtle playground and Mon Repos Rd,” Paul said.
“These turtles were created as part of last year's Milbi Festival activities by members of the community.
“We had a great day down at the beach creating the turtles with about 40 different families and individuals and we thought now was a good time to display them.”
Paul said given current climate surrounding Coronavirus, he wanted to install the turtle art to give people a bit of positivity within their day.
“People are really struggling at the moment so I am hoping those that see this art on their daily exercise route or visit to the beach will have smiles on their faces,” he said.
To install the rock art, Paul said signs were placed in various spots along the foreshore first to advise residents of what was about to take place.
“The installation process is much like tiling,” he said.
“We use a cement-based adhesive for the artwork which dries overnight and then we seal in all of the joints to make sure the mosaics last.”
Paul said so far, community feedback had been wonderful.
“Everybody has been extremely positive about it,” he said.
“We posted the artwork on the Facebook page and received hundreds of likes and comments- people love it.”
Mosaic turtle art part of a bigger picture
Paul said the turtle art started last year as a way to get people interested in mosaics for recruitment of an even bigger community project.
“We received Regional Arts Development Funding for the turtle project and then it also turned into a great little recruitment process for the next big mosaic project, which is the installation of a large mural on the public amenities block at Bargara,” he said.
“The completed public artwork will be officially unveiled as part of the Milbi Festival in November 2020 and will be a significant addition to the Bargara Art Trail.”
Paul said more than 100 people had volunteered their time for the project and, while COVID-19 restrictions had placed workshops on hold for the time-being, he was looking forward to getting back to business again soon.
“It will feature and honour our local turtles (milbis) and form a key component of the Bargara Art Trail, attracting even more visitors and tourists to the area once complete,” he said.
The Bargara artist said he started out his career with paints before realising mosaic art would create a longer legacy.
“The reason I got into mosaics is because when I was painting, people used to say ‘oh that will only last about five years' and it got me thinking,” he said.
“In Pompeii they are digging up mosaics that are 3,000 years old that are in beautiful condition and I thought, well that's one way to create lasting artwork.
“It's about keeping my legacy around long after I am gone.”
To find out more about Milbi Magic Mosaics click here.