Fragile artwork wins Art Expo’s Vale award

By Elizabeth Allen

Photo: Tomas Trinkl

Ocean Shores artist Coral Larke sees her work Lockgown as a symbol of fragility. 

“It’s a conceptual piece,” Coral says, after learning the ballgown, made of toilet paper, surgical masks and newspaper clippings, has won the $1000 Vale Award in the Ocean Shores Art Expo.

“The idea is the fragility of life and how we can’t take anything for granted.

“I was perplexed as to why people would fight over toilet paper and hoard it. Then I realized people were frightened.

“Masks are paper thin and toilet paper is just paper but they are protecting us.

“There’s the fragility of paper and the fragility of life. Our relations with others are also so fragile.”

Coral, a former belly dancer and costumier, moved from Melbourne to Byron Shire in July. 

She bought the Lockgown mannequin second-hand at Ballina but usually picks up the raw materials for her artworks from the roadside. 

“I pick up objects from the streets,” she says. “I get a compulsion to take them home even though I don’t know why.”

A collection of hubcaps painted as mandalas became an exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art. 

Coral describes her art making as “trying to work things out”. 

She next plans to examine what lies behind the fierce pro- and anti-vaccination debate. 

“It seems to be another example of collective insanity,” she says.

Photo: Tomas Trinkl
Photo: Tomas Trinkl