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Manon van Kouswijk, a Dutch jeweller and artist who now lives and works in Melbourne, has been awarded the $300,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021 for her sculpture Peninsula Pearls. The piece will be installed alongside Peninsula Link in September next year, replacing Michael Riddle’s Iconoclast.

The commission is part of an ongoing program of new sculptures that alternates every two years between sites at Skye Rd and Cranbourne Rd alongside the freeway. After four years on public display, the sculptures are moved to McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery’s permanent outdoor collection.

Peninsula Pearls is the sixth commission as part of this unique sculpture commissioning program with our partner Southern Way,” said McClelland director Lisa Byrne. “With each new commission, our local community and the many visitors to our region have the opportunity to experience some of Australia’s leading large-scale sculpture.  Manon’s commission will be a wonderful surprise for commuters, taking the fine detail and personal intimacy of jewellery into the realm of large-scale public sculpture.

“This work will continue to fulfil the program’s aim to thoughtfully engage with our community through experiences out of the ordinary, those that inspire debate and develop awareness of sculpture,” Ms Byrne said. “Each day we know over 74,000 people travel past these sculptures by car. Peninsula Pearls will once again make a significant contribution to public sculpture, given its complex spatial arrangement.”

Manon van Kouswijk studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where she was head of the jewellery department, before moving to Australia in 2010. Her work is exhibited around the world, including at NGV in Melbourne, and is based on exploring the visual and conceptual potential of well-known jewellery forms and motifs and translating them through a range of materials and processes.

The Southern Way McClelland Commission 2021 received 174 submissions from Australian and international artists.

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