After two years, 100,000 tiles and more than 6000 hours of work, Paul Perry has finished a 33-panel mosaic masterpiece which will be installed on a Bargara amenities block.
Paul gave Bundaberg Now a sneak preview of the epic work, featuring historical references and local flora and fauna.
Paul said the mosaic has been a collaborative effort with local schools and indigenous groups contributing thousands of man-hours.
“We’ve altogether put in 62,000 hours including all of the volunteer time as well as my own time and we’ve had over 216 people involved in the project either making fish or volunteering to mosaic the panels,” Paul said.
“These people are local neighbours, artists, community groups, local schools and it’s even gone right across Australia, so it’s been amazing and fantastic to have so many people involved.”
He said the mosaic celebrates the history, diversity and beauty of the Bundaberg Region.
“We live in one of the most beautiful places along the Queensland Coast, and we’ve got the Southern Great Barrier Reef and the wall is really meant to celebrate that,” he said.
“We feature our wonderful loggerhead turtle and that’s going to be the big feature on the front wall — a three-metre turtle jumping off this wall.
“The other part has a much deeper meaning and we really wanted to engage with the community and make them think of the history of this area and the fact that we have First Nations people who have lived here for 40,000 years.
“And we’ve also got South Sea islander communities who have contributed to our region.”
Over the last six years the Bargara foreshore has been brightened with Paul’s colourful mosaic artwork.
In 2019, he approached Bundaberg Regional Council with the concept of covering the amenities block at Archies Beach with shimmering mosaic tiles.
This work is by far his largest to date. Paul said the mosaic will cover the entire 33-metre concrete surrounds of the facility and act as an anchor point for an already burgeoning art trail walk.
Paul said that unlike painting, mosaic was not as susceptible to fading and he imagined the artwork would be around for generations to come.
“At the end of the day I wanted to create something that our community was really engaged with, was excited about and could have a part to play and from my personal perspective would leave a legacy far beyond my time,” he said.
“I’m confident on all of those accounts that we’ve achieved something amazing.
“The painted murals that I’ve worked on over the last few years have already created an art trail across the foreshore here and this component very much is part of an anchor point for that art trail.
“I would certainly like to see the art trail extended whether it be more mosaic work or whether it be a sculpture park that runs from Bargara up to Burnett heads.”
Painting with glass
Paul described working with mosaic as painting with glass, with every tile refracting the light differently.
The installation is scheduled for November, and Paul credited the community with coming together to assist in making the project a reality.
“There’s 33 panels altogether and it’s been a marathon effort but it’s wonderful to have the last piece glued to the board and the last little panel grouted,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it installed, but more than that I’m looking forward to seeing the community really celebrate what we’ve been able to achieve together.”