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Homage to the Gold Coast medical staff

Our city houses many guardians, the protectors of our people, the unsung heroes of the Gold Coast. From the lifeguards at the beach to the firefighters protecting our homes, the social workers helping those most in need and the police guarding the safety of our community. This sculpture honours the medical staff of Gold Coast Health and the sacrifices they make, expressing my appreciation and respect to the nurses, doctors and hospital staff that save our lives every day, the Guardians of the Gold Coast.


Guardians of the Gold Coast is a sculpture that pays homage to the medical workers that guard the lives of the Gold Coast residents and to bring inspiration and strength to both the patients being treated by Gold Coast health practitioners.


I have had a long history with Gold Coast health through both Type 1 Diabetes and Cancer treatment and would not be alive today without their help and service. I want to give something back to all the staff to inspire them and show that I appreciate what they sacrifice, that they are the Guardians of the Gold Coast.


The sculpture is uniquely Gold Coast, utilizing the Surf Life Saving guard chairs as a symbol of saving lives and connecting this to the lifesaving work that the medical practitioners do on the Gold Coast. The beach setting at Swell Sculpture Festival would be an ideal location for its first exhibition. Combined with the Gold Coast lifeguard chair will be the modern medical logo symbolism including the wings, snake and rod that represent the caduceus. A steel cutout with the text ‘Guardians of the Gold Coast’ will be attached to the front top of the chair. The chair itself will be embedded with patterns and symbolism to represent the health care of the Gold Coast and the rear heart shape adorned with steel wind chimes.


This piece also develops my own practice through consultation with Gold Coast health and Generate GC professional artists. It will also challenge me technically with a sculpture that is smaller in scale and requires much more detailed work.


Public art can surround us and create conversations and controversy; it forces us to have an opinion as we try to understand its purpose, starting a two-way conversation. Public art can reach people that may not have previously engaged with art, and can change their perceptions on certain topics, amplifying the voice of the artist.


Art invokes emotions that cannot be defined easily; it is difficult to quantify or qualify how any one person will see one’s art or predict the ways in which it will affect people. Friedrich Nietzsche said that: “We have art in order not to perish from the truth”. I think that art can take from the past and present and help define what is now and how the future can be.


Harry Bertoia’s sound producing visual works are also very interesting, although he was not aware of the genre sound sculpture at the time of his creations. He is quoted as saying the following. “Man is not important. Humanity is what counts, to which, I feel, I have given my contribution. Humanity shall continue without me, but I am not going away. I am not leaving you. Every time you see some tree tops moving in the wind, you will think of me. Or you will see some beautiful flowers; you will think of me. I have never been a very religious man, not in the formal way, but each time I took a walk in the woods, I felt the presence of a superior force around me.” (Bertoia, 1978).

Guy Cooper - Guardians of the Gold Coast
Guy Cooper - Guardians of the Gold Coast


2020 - Swell Sculpture Festival People's Choice Award


Sept 2020 - Swell Sculpture Festival

Nov 2020 - Bleach Festival Stocklands Burleigh

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