Jelly babies’ surprising new home unveiled

 

A LIKELY new home for the famous Cairns jelly baby sculptures can finally be revealed more than a year after they were evicted from the Centre of Contemporary Arts' front lawn.

It has been an anxious wait for the five pieces of artistic confectionery, having been locked away in a dark vault while a decision on their future was made.

French tourists John Tiquant and Guillaume Vigreux check out the sculptures outside the former CoCA building. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
French tourists John Tiquant and Guillaume Vigreux check out the sculptures outside the former CoCA building. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

One thing was clear - they were no longer welcome at CoCA (now renamed Bulmba-Ja) after its $7.1 million upgrade was completed.

A lifeline has been thrown their way with Cairns Regional Council swinging to the rescue.

The council will decide tomorrow whether to take over Arts Queensland's ownership of the multi-coloured effigies and shift them to a new home at Munro Martin Parklands.

Owner of Paradiso cafe Andy Graham helps the jelly babies get ready for their move. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Owner of Paradiso cafe Andy Graham helps the jelly babies get ready for their move. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

"Unfortunately, part of this (CoCA) upgrade has been an expansion of the building footprint," a report to tomorrow's meeting states.

"This has resulted in the displacement of the five iconic fibreglass jelly babies, affectionately known as Gilbert, Oliver, Penelope, Roxanne and Yasmin, designed by local artist Sophie Cadman in 2004.

A red star marks the proposed new home for the famous Cairns jelly baby sculptures at Munro Martin Parklands. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A red star marks the proposed new home for the famous Cairns jelly baby sculptures at Munro Martin Parklands. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"During the renovation period Arts Queensland have stored the famous five in a safe off-site location to mitigate any potential damage during the construction period.

"In discussions with Arts Queensland staff, the artist has indicated a preference for the public artworks relocation to Munro Martin Parklands."

The decision is not set in stone but Munro Martin Parklands has been recommended by council officers.

Naomi Mabo and Ben Harding with the dressed-up jelly babies as part of the start of the Chinese New Year in 2018. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY
Naomi Mabo and Ben Harding with the dressed-up jelly babies as part of the start of the Chinese New Year in 2018. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY

It will be up to councillors to vote on the matter tomorrow.

"The parklands site ensures high visibility to the public whilst providing safety and security and is respectful to the overall artistic intent for this iconic artwork to celebrate the cultural diversity of our community, embracing all, but favouring none," the report continued.

"Placement of the artwork adjacent to children's recreational facilities could inadvertently indicate that these are a funky interactive play feature.

Aerial shot of the Munro Martin Parklands in Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Aerial shot of the Munro Martin Parklands in Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"Arts Queensland have advised that the artist is happy with the proposed location of Munro

Martin Parklands.

"They have committed to reimburse Council for any expenses incurred and will formally transfer the asset to Council once the site has been approved."

Council officers have recommended the western corner of the park for the statues.

The jelly babies were on holidays (but really they were locked in a safe). PICTURE: DANIEL WALLWORK
The jelly babies were on holidays (but really they were locked in a safe). PICTURE: DANIEL WALLWORK

Other sites considered

Northeast and southeast corners of the Florence and Abbott streets intersection

Near the Fun Ship at the northern end of the Esplanade

Near the cenotaph

Adjacent to Muddy's Playground



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