Aluminium praised as material of choice by winning artist

Posted: March 10, 2023 / News

Erica Zaino, ‘Labyrinth-Labirinto’, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2023. Photo Jessica Wyld

A Perth-based artist’s attempt to “capture the labyrinth of the mind” has taken out this year’s Alcoa Aluminium Award at the annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, exhibition, which runs until 20 March.

Erica Zaino took out the sought-after $5,000 prize for her ‘Labyrinth – Labirinto’ sculpture, which she said “demonstrated how the labyrinth was more a concept inside the human mind than a real place with physicality”.

“Curved mirrors generate a figurative journey of our thoughts that sometimes stay trapped, other times they are able to find their way out,” she said.

The award is one way Alcoa has supported one of Perth’s largest free-to-the-public events since its inception 19 years ago.

A total of 71 artists from 12 countries are showcasing their artwork across this year’s beach-side exhibition, which is expected to again attract around 200,000 visitors.

Alcoa Australia President Robert Bear said the resources company was proud to play a part in making the arts accessible to everyone and to showcase its end product, aluminium.

“Aluminium is already vital to our everyday life and will play an even bigger role in going forward as the world tackles climate change,” Mr Bear said.

“Aluminium is already a key element in our buildings, packaging, and smart phones. Going forward, it’s an essential element for things like electrical vehicles, new energy generation, and energy storage.

“We are thrilled to be able to support artists like Erica showcasing aluminium in creative ways.”

Erica, whose art is influenced by her architectural career, described aluminium as her material of choice.

“It is hard to imagine a metal more suited to creating beautiful objects,” she said. “Aluminium is a very versatile material, robust and lightweight, at the same time it can be used in many creative ways including polishing to a mirror finish. This very last characteristic combined with the capacity to be curved is what allowed me to craft ‘Labyrinth – Labirinto’”.

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

“As Alcoa’s 19-year Founding Partnership evolves, this is the fifth year Alcoa has funded this significant award for WA artists who work in aluminium,” David said.

“This award has now become an important part of the structure of support that encourages the sculptors of WA to persevere with their creative but expensive and challenging careers.”

As well as the aluminium award, Alcoa has supported the long-running School Education Program, which has provided more than 33,000 students with a backstage pass to the exhibition and artistic process since the event started in 2005.


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