Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Immerse Yourself In The Reef

For the past three years the Immerse Art Installation has formed a creative centrepiece to the Great Barrier Reef Festival.

Its glowing sea creatures, stunning animations and sparkling reef sculptures bring a magical underwater wonderland to life at Fairy Tree Park.

With each year that passes, the installation grows in both scale and diversity – colourful marine life is added to the scene, the animations extend to neighbouring walls and this year, for the first time, an instrumental composition completes a full sensory experience.

Immerse is the brainchild of festival Chair and Creative Director, Margie Murphy, who is elated to see the project evolve from the seed of an idea to one of the highlights of the whole event.

“I always envisioned a reef themed installation at the centre of the festival,” explains Margie.

“I love the way it creates a visual focus and links everything back to the reef.”

Margie went to art school in her youth and spent many years working with screen printing and running a construction business alongside her husband while organising regional Whitsunday events.

Over the last three years she has enjoyed rekindling her passion for art and working with other respected artists.

Regionally acclaimed artists Margaret Burgess and Donna Marie Robinson create Immerse alongside local artists, Margie Murphy, Liz Knight, Anita Pender, Bridgette Peel and new creatives Noemi Martinez and Joan Hunter.

In the first year of its inception, Immerse cultivated its roots near the one hundred year old Fig Tree at Fairy Tree Park on the Airlie Beach Foreshore.

This location has remained the focal point as the art installation has grown around it, like branches and leaves, creating a majestic coral garden.

Year one saw the introduction of sea creatures which were crafted from recycled marine debris to recreate and repurpose litter, maximising the potential use of waste products.

The second year of Immerse saw the expansion of the animations and projections, their incredible night-time visuals opening up a vibrant wonderland for all to admire.

Each year Immerse builds upon the last, incorporating different mediums and different locations.

Nearby Heart Hotel became a feature wall for the projections in 2022 and this was so successful that it will be replicated this year.

The 2023 event will welcome two large Humpback Whales to the installation, their intricate designs creating a jaw-dropping centrepiece.

The whale theme will be continued with two enormous whale tail lanterns travelling to Fairy Tree Park on Friday evening leading the Lantern Parade from Coral Sea Marina to the Foreshore.

Hundreds of children will also carry their hand-crafted glowing lights, marching them along the scenic coastal trail to the pleasure of onlookers.

The whale tails and some of the other lanterns will join the installation, placed within Immerse to form the finishing touches of the artwork.

On Saturday evening, the full sensory experience will be completed when classically trained musicians perform a unique orchestral piece written especially for the event.

The piece will include authentic whale sounds and create a captivating experience for everyone.

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