• The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre
  • The Big Barge Art Centre

about the big barge art centre

sc00024640_2File0037 File0093 IMG_8955 sc00020ad8_2 File0001 File0002

The Big Barge Art Centre is dedicated to fostering all areas of art and community art practice within the islands. The centre incorporates a working artists studio for you to visit and talk to the artists and an extremely unique local art gallery.

The art gallery is housed inside the hull of a locally handcrafted timber barge and offers a selection of original and captivating local artworks for sale.

The centre is situated right on the beachfront with picturesque views out to the Indian Ocean and surrounded by a tropical coconut grove. It is available as a stunning new exclusive venue for hire for any occasion.

THE BIG BARGE ART CENTRE ENDEAVOURS TO FURTHER DEVELOP ALL AREAS OF ART AND CULTURE WITHIN THE ISLANDS. ALLOWING THIS REMOTE COMMUNITY EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS OF A LIFE ENRICHED BY ART, CREATIVITY AND CULTURE.

History of the Big Barge Project

The creation of The Big Barge Art Centre has been a journey spanning over the last 10 years. It started with the discovery of a local timber barge that had been pulled onto shore and left abandoned in the jungle.

Emma used to visit the barge in its jungle setting and ponder what could be done with such a majestic old vessel. A passion for the arts and all things ‘rustic’ led to the idea of turning the barge into an art gallery and community art space.

The feat to move the 15 tonne vessel was not small, though captain Roger Bell a yachtie sailing through the islands heard about the project and stepped up to the challenge, as did many local volunteers. Months were spent welding a massive trailer under the ground to allow the barge to be moved to a new location.

Over the following years it has been all hands on deck…literally. Complete restoration has all been lovingly done to restore the barge to its former glory, whilst creating a new vibrant arts space.

The Big Barge Art Centre was officially opened on August 15th 2009, as is bursting with artists, inspiration, new ideas and creative projects.

Thanks go to amazing family, friends, locals and local businesses, The Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Attorney Generals Department for their constant support and their commitment to seeing the project through to fruition.

History of the Barge ‘Biar Selamat’

‘Biar Selamat’ is the name of the historical timber barge that is the stunning focal piece of the centre and the main infrastructure housing the art gallery. ‘Biar Selamat’, is a Malay name translated as meaning ‘to be safe on your journey’.

The barge was hand built in 1965 by a team of local Malay boat builders and took 8 months to build. Constructed entirely of hardwood timber, its long bellowing curves span a distance of 19 meters and 5 meters at its widest point.

Its life journey was spent embarking on voyages to the North Keeling atoll to collect coconuts for the then thriving copra industry as well as collecting sea containers off the incoming ships. Its final days were spent as a community ferry transporting school children and workers across the lagoon.

It is spoken of affectionately by the locals that used to work and travel on it as the ‘community boat’ shared and enjoyed by all. It is a testament to the skills of the local shipwrights, some of whom still reside here on the islands today.

Studio Artist Gallery
Image Caption

Artblocks

Image Caption

Blue Holes

Image Caption

Blue Lagoon

Image Caption

Funky Sweetlips (20 x 40)

Image Caption

Funky Sweetlips (30 x 40)

Image Caption

Funky Sweetlips Cushion

Image Caption

Humphead Maori Wrasse

Image Caption

Seahorse

Image Caption

Tree of Life

Image Caption

Wahoo

Image Caption

Wave & Gull

© Copyright 2017 The Big Barge Art Centre