Art on the Pier Queenscliff hit by vandals

February 18, 2024 BY

This is not the first time the Art on the Pier display has been impacted by vandalism. Photo: ART ON THE PIER

THE organisers of the Art on the Pier Queenscliff exhibition, formerly the Queenscliff Art Prize, have been left devastated after part of the display was vandalised last week.

Four of the more than 150 artworks installed along the historic Queenscliff Pier were affected.

Three sustained significant damage and one piece, by award-winning photographer Dezine by Mauro, appears to have been stolen.

“They’re lovely works. I’m just aghast that somebody would choose to brutally destroy them,” exhibition curator Chris MacLeod said.

How Val Parker’s submission to the prize looked after the vandalism. Photo: SUPPLIED


A panel displaying the work of local artist Val Parker took the brunt of the damage.

“Somebody had really smashed into it,” Mr MacLeod said.

“And, this is the really strange part, they had left a Bible. It was partially strapped onto the pier with the remnants of the cable tie that had previously held the panel.”

Mr MacLeod said none of the damaged artworks contained any religious imagery and it was “anyone’s guess” why the Bible had been left behind.

Now in its fourth year, this is not the first time the annual art prize has been vandalised.

In its first year three artworks were stolen, with two disappearing the evening following their installation.

Three of the displays were damaged and one was stolen. Photo: SUPPLIED


Last year, the approximately 500 solar lights that illuminate the exhibition were stolen.

“We’ll certainly continue,” Mr MacLeod said.

“There’s great enthusiasm for [the art prize] and I’ll do my level best to replace the works that were damaged as quickly as I can.”

However, he remains concerned that the exhibition may suffer further vandalism with ongoing vandalism threatening the future of the art prize.

“If there’s more damage, it just gets to a point where it becomes possibly too time-consuming and the artists will think ‘Well, we’d love to be in it, but my work might only be there for half the exhibition time’.”

Art on the Pier accepts submissions from artists across Australia who can enter artwork into the prize’s 10 categories, including portrait, mixed media, print and digital art.

Val Parker’s damaged artwork, titled “Walk with Me”, shows two figures walking together on the beach. Photo: SUPPLIED.


The artwork is printed on a combination of aluminium and canvas and placed between two sheets of polycarbonate plastic which reflect the sun.

The winners of this year’s prize will be announced next month, and the artwork will be on display until the end of May.

“The artists who participate in it, really love it,” Mr MacLeod said.

“It’s not just another exhibition. [It allows us] all to enjoy the dramatic, ever-changing backdrop of Port Phillip Bay.”

Art on the Pier has expanded this year to include two additional exhibitions on the Rosebud Pier and the South Melbourne Pier.