Alcoa Aluminium Sculpture Award to Denise Pepper

Posted: March 1, 2024 / Announced, Awards, News

Denise Pepper, Women Wear Trousers, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2024. Photo: Richard Watson

Acclaimed Perth-based artist Denise Pepper has received this year’s Alcoa Aluminium Award at the 20th annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe exhibition.

The sought-after $5,000 prize was awarded to the artist for her Women Wear Trousers sculpture.

“I am drawn to using aluminium as a sustainable material that has become fundamental to my art practice,” Ms Pepper said.

“The lightweight nature of the metal allows me to construct substantial artworks applying detailed designs and inlays without losing any strength, durability and longevity.”

Women Wear Trousers is Ms Peppers ninth entry into Sculptures by the Sea, Cottesloe and explores the themes of gender representation in the arts industry, “I consider this work to be a tribute for women sculptors. Ensuring the equality and respect shown to women artists is visible,” she said.

A total of 71 artists from 14 countries are showcasing their artwork in this year’s beachside exhibition, which is expected to again attract around 250,000 visitors.

Alcoa Australia Acting Vice President Operations, Tanya Simmonds said the company was proud to play a part in making the arts accessible to everyone and to showcase aluminium.

“Aluminium is already vital to our everyday lives and will play an even bigger role going forward as the world moves to renewables,” Ms Simmonds said.

“It is a key component in building products, packaging, smartphones, electric vehicles, and new energy generation including solar panels and energy storage.

“As many artists involved in Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe are showing, aluminium can also be used in some very creative ways. We are thrilled to continue our support for the 20th year and to recognise Ms Pepper for her incredible work.”

Sculpture by the Sea Founding CEO and Artistic Director David Handley congratulated Denise Pepper and thanked Alcoa for its ongoing support.

“As Alcoa’s 20-year Founding Partnership has evolved over time, this is the sixth year Alcoa has funded this significant award for WA artists who work in aluminium,” Mr Handley said.

“This award is an important part of the structure of support that encourages the sculptors of WA to persevere with their creative but expensive and challenging careers that we all enjoy so much.”

In addition to the aluminium award, Alcoa’s support has enabled 36,824 school students to participate in the school education program since its inception 20 years ago. The program offers students a backstage pass to the exhibition and artistic process through sculpture-making workshops and student-focused tours.

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