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Paul Perry hooks gold with arts award

Paul Perry
Bargara Artist, Paul Perry with his art work Shimmering Gold that was received this year’s People’s Choice Award in the Queensland Regional Art Awards.

Bargara artist Paul Perry has been recognised for his ‘Shimmering Gold' artwork with the People’s Choice prize in this year’s Queensland Regional Art Awards.

The aptly called ‘Shimmering Gold’ displays a resplendent goldfish that has been intricately plastered onto the side of a brown paper bag.

The goldfish is glistening and glowing from the small pieces of cracked tiles that it's made up of, but as Paul describes, at the core it’s still just life in a paper bag.

“The COVID restrictions had a lot of psychological impacts on people and a lot of artists I knew became quite uncreative as they got into a mental block with artistic creation,” Paul said.

“I got this sense that a goldfish in a paper bag was very much how many people were feeling this year.”

The theme for the Queensland awards was decadence, and Paul had also used the artwork for an earlier exhibition at the Cross Gallery which required a paper bag.

He combined the two exhibition themes together merging his love of mosaic with the Cross Gallery’s paper bag requirement to create Shimmering Gold.

Using a range of glittering and glistening tiles to create the sea and the goldfish, Paul transformed the brown paper bag into a decadent mosaic artwork that puts the gold in goldfish.

Paul Perry's Shimmering Gold. Photographer: Sabrina Lauriston

“The theme was decadence, so the decadence was gold. Gold transformed into goldfish and then shimmering, fancy pearl eyes, glass and mirrors,” Paul said.

“It’s a facade though. On the outside it all looks good, but on the inside it’s hollow and may just be life inside of a paper bag.

“There’s a deeper meaning to the piece and it’s about asking us to think about, well, what does it feel like to be inside that cooped up space.  Is it just that we’re putting on a good facade?”

The artwork took about 80 hours to complete.

Much of Paul’s colourful mosaic artwork already features across the Bargara foreshore.

Paul said he was honoured with the People’s Choice Award, and hopefully it will further encourage regional artists.

“The award is a Regional Queensland Award and its really about showcasing the local creativity from artists in regional areas and from that perspective it was for me an honour to be awarded this, because I really felt that this was a way of putting Bargara and Bundaberg on the art map.”