Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Art, Animation, and Classical Composition At The Great Barrier Reef Festival

The iconic Immerse art installation at this year’s Cruise Whitsunday Great Barrier Reef Festival is reaching new heights with the incorporation of a classical composition to provide a soundtrack to the artwork at its opening on the Saturday night.

The Immerse installation initiative, first delivered in 2021, is the brainchild of creative director and Great Barrier Reef Festival Chairperson Margie Murphy, who wanted to create a reef-inspired visual focus for the event.

For the first time, in 2023 the installation will include a composed musical element, inviting musicians aged 15 and over who play a classical instrument to perform under the guidance of Brisbane-based contemporary composer Corrina Bonshek.

‘Call from the Deep’ will be a purpose-created piece featuring stunning recordings of Eastern Humpback Whales and performed by talented regional youth.

Margie Murphy said she was thrilled to be bringing another element to the installation.

“This will be a special performance on the Saturday evening of the festival, which will also provide a soundtrack for the installation,” she said.

“There are so many parts of our community involved in the Immerse 2023 project, and I can’t wait to see them all come together.”

The project recreates the Reef with projected animations, and sculptures using recycled materials created by local and visiting artists and the community.

Free community workshops are scheduled in June and July for members of the public to create corals and fish to be incorporated into the installation.

Funded through the Queensland Arts Showcase Program, Immerse 2023 will be delivered by award-winning multi-media artists Margaret Burgess and Donna Maree Robinson and features works by local artists Brigitte Peel, Liz Knight, Anita Pender, and Joan Hunter.

Lead sculpture artist Margaret Burgess said she was excited to be working on the Immerse installation again.

“This project ticks all my boxes; community building, creative, inclusive, educational and it creates environmental awareness and conversations about our Great Barrier Reef,” Mrs Burgess said.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Rick Hamilton is excited for the Immerse 2023 installation.

“It is hugely encouraging to have the State Government support the Immerse installation, again, this year,” he said.

“The opportunities the funding opens up for the festival organisers is significant; and it also provides the community with the opportunity to get involved and create their piece of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Immerse installation brings the Great Barrier Reef out of the water and into the centre of the festival, where kids and adults alike are awed by the almost life-size sculptures hanging from the fig tree.

“Using recycled materials is an important part element of Immerse and one that fits with the values of the Festival and The Whitsundays.”

Great Barrier Reef Festival Chairperson Margie Murphy and lead sculpture artist Margaret Burgess. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Two artists prepare for last year’s Immerse Installation

The coral reef creations are a central theme to the artwork

In other news