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 Cork artist Alex Pentek with his art commission titled ‘Urban Oasis’, at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork, before it is shipped to Queensland. Picture: Cathal Noonan
Cork artist Alex Pentek with his art commission titled ‘Urban Oasis’, at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork, before it is shipped to Queensland. Picture: Cathal Noonan
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Queensland about to say G’day to Cork sculptor’s creations

FOUR stainless steel ferns, 11 metres tall, designed by Cork artist Alex Pentek, are on the way to Australia where they will be erected as a permanent art installation called ‘Urban Oasis’ in the City of Gold Coast.

Mr Pentek, 44, who was born in Bantry, won an international competition to create the work of art that will be installed along the promenade in Surfers Paradise, which is a popular tourist area.

 A computer model of what one of Pentek’s ferns might look like in the Gold Coast, Australia.

A computer model of what one of Pentek’s ferns might look like in the Gold Coast, Australia.

The work, which took 14 months to complete, most of it carried out alone, with hand tools, represents the history of the area as shield ferns which once grew in abundance at this location.

With the help of ARUP consulting engineer Sean Clarke, the ferns are designed to curl, stretch and appear in various stages of growth as they emerge from the concrete.

Alex said: “The idea was inspired by the area’s recent history as one of the most diverse sub-tropical littoral rainforests in Australia. It has been my aim to capture the imagination of the public visiting this urban oasis by depicting the contrastingly delicate impression of shield ferns that once grew here.

“Showing different stages of growth, their monumental scale, together with a series of ground panels symbolise the importance of this heritage and our place within a broader natural order.”

Pentek's previous work includes the ‘Kindred Spirits’ sculptor at Bailic Park, Midleton, which recognises the contribution of the American Choctaw Indians for Irish famine relief in 1847. Picture David Creedon
Pentek's previous work includes the ‘Kindred Spirits’ sculptor at Bailic Park, Midleton, which recognises the contribution of the American Choctaw Indians for Irish famine relief in 1847. Picture David Creedon
Since graduating from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 1996, Mr Pentek has been working full time as a fine art artist.

The artist has created a number of notable art pieces here in Cork including Kindred Spirits — the piece in in Bailick Park in Midleton to mark the Famine links with the Choctaw Indians — and a limestone statue of a fox terrier outside the Cork City Tax Office, modelled on his own pet.

Mr Pentek said it was very exciting to have his work on display in Australia and said he was very proud. The artist, who also has large-scale work on display in Ontario, Canada, is currently putting together a new origami-inspired exhibition which will be on display at the Crawford Art Gallery in November.

For more information on Alex and his work, visit his website: alexpentek.com