Marble sculpture

artwork by I. Giardina

The Sculpture Backstory: An Odyssey from Scholar to Sculptor

Upon my return from Mamallapuram—a transformative sojourn in 2005 among a guild of venerable stone sculptors—I found myself beckoned by the lush environs of Far North Queensland. Here, I ventured to mold a new artistic narrative in the realm of tropical marble sculpture.

The Selection of a Tropical Motif: Revisiting Echoes of the Past

This phase marked a poignant divergence, pivoting from my scholarly escapades in Brisbane and my dalliance with hollow timber and the melodies that they carried. The turn toward marble seemed, in many ways, like a return to an Edenic simplicity, resonating with my nascent impressions of the Rollingstone dry tropics of my childhood. In the labyrinth of my subconscious, I perceived threads connecting me to those early years—subtle abstractions now etched into the tropical marble. And as a compass for this exploration, the emblematic cassowary emerged as my figurative muse.

Small Steps in the Making of the Wet Tropics Studio: Setting the Stage

Carrying forth the artisanal legacy of my 2005 Indian pilgrimage, I returned with an arsenal of chisels and stone grinder tips—a tactile memory of the guild that had nurtured my sculptural aspirations. Joined by additional power tools, these simple implements laid the cornerstone of my Mission Beach studio, where my tropical sculpture dreams began to materialize. It was here, on family land bordering the verdant expanse of Hull River National Park, that I took my inaugural steps, fortified by my parents’ unwavering support. They provided not just a physical space, but a sanctuary where I could chase my increasingly tangible artistic vision.

A Nod to Timeless Mentorship: The Bruno Connection

My childhood muse, Bruno, resurfaced in this unfolding narrative, lending his unique flair to my creative space. He was more than a builder; he was an artistic collaborator and mentor, constructing a stone wall that served as both an aesthetic statement and a nod to my Australian-Austrian lineage. To me, Bruno epitomized the spirit of a modern-day Ludwig Leichhardt—albeit with a Patrick White-inflected narrative complexity—each chisel and hammer strike echoing the adventurous pulse of this larger-than-life figure.

Embarking on a Tropical Marble Sculpture Phase: A Material Reckoning

Fortune smiled when I stumbled upon a cache of large marble blocks, relics of an outback mining operation. This serendipitous find supplied me with ample material for my burgeoning repertoire of experimental pieces. After two decades engrossed in spiritual quests, the tactile pleasure of chipping away at marble was euphoric. These explorations, in time, evolved into ventures with mixed media, unearthing deeper correlations to my formative years in the wet tropics and echoing my simple Rollingstone origins. My inspirations drew from the minimalistic aesthetic ethos of Constantin Brancusi, which found its modern embodiment as I later transitioned to mixed media practices in the dry tropics.

And so, each hammer strike, each etched pattern, each carefully selected motif has become a stitch in the fabric of my artistic life, binding past insights to present endeavors and future visions. The course is set; the journey unfolds.