Thanakupi visiting UAP’s workshop. Pictured with Jason Kahl, Workshop Manager and Jerko Starcevic, Lead Patternmaker.

PROJECT Cairns Cruise Terminal
LOCATION Cairns, QLD, Australia
ARTIST Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher (Thanakupi)
DESIGN UAP Studio, Stacie Gibson
FABRICATION UAP Workshop
YEAR 2010

Renowned Australian indigenous artist Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher (Thanakupi) has been commissioned to create an iconic entry marker for Cairns Cruise Terminal. Thanakupi is regarded as North Queensland’s leading contemporary artists and for the enormous contribution that her ceramic work has made to Aboriginal art in Australia.

For this artwork, to be sited next to the ocean, she has chosen to depict a legend about celestial beings: the sun and the moon who meet and become lovers. The legend is told through drawings and markings, made in relief on the surface of the sphere. Thanakupi collaborated with UAP Patternmaker Jerko Starcevic to create the large-scale form to be later cast in bronze.


Artist Liaison Mary Stuart and Lead Patternmaker Jerko Starcevic working on a large scale version of Thanakupi’s maquette

Indigenous artist Koolpinyah Barnes was recently commissioned to recreate his Tawny Frogmouth Owl sculpture at 1.8m for a public space. The original sculpture,  450mm high, was produced as a result of the Gatherings workshops, which were a series of sculpture workshops held between 2007-08, whereby UAP worked with indigenous artists from various communities in the Northern Territory. One of the primary aims of the workshops was to assist the artists in the interpretation of their art practice to create limited edition artworks. Koolpinyah worked with patternmakers in UAP’s workshop to create a pattern for the Giant Owl, which was later cast in bronze.

Koolpinyah and his Owl

Koolpinyah works with UAP patternmakers on the 1.8m Giant Owl sculptureThe original Owl, made in the Gatherings workshops

left: Koolpinyah Barnes and UAP Patternmaker Cezary Stulgis. right: the original Tawny Frogmouth Owl sculpture (450mm high)

Dani Marti’s sculptural wall artwork is currently being fabricated in UAP’s workshop. A panel of woven rope was made using strands of selected thickness and texture. It was then coated with rubber and encased in a frame of wood and fibreglass to create a mould for casting panels of glass-reinforced concrete. These will be tiled on the wall to create the final effect.

Rope pattern being prepared for casting in UAP workshop

Creating a mould from the woven rope pattern

Creating a mould from the woven rope pattern

Mould ready for casting concrete panels