Sam Hopkins (fabricator) and Johannes Pannekoek (right)

Gooseberry Hills resident Johannes Pannekoek (also known as Harry) is an award-winning sculptor and artist. His deep regard for nature is reflected in his all aspects of his life …and in what he delivers for a climate safe, sustainable, biodiverse future

His sculptures seem to breath with the power and grace of the earth’s elementary forces. This is reflected in how his sculptures are created. For example, he said, ‘When I was making Symphony in C, which is about the movement of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean, I would listen to Armand Amar’s music score for the UNESCO-sponsored film La Terre vue du ciel.  The music, the sounds, the harmony of the elements, the connectedness, the flow if it, went into making that sculpture… a wonderful feeling’ Johannes said. ‘If everyone knew how carbon moves, they would be convinced about the need to act now for a climate safe world’ he said. 

Johannes has exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe and Bondi, and has been awarded several prizes, including first prize for the ‘Change Ahead’ sculpture exhibited in Bondi. And he’s one of the judges of this year’s Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe.  Public and private collectors have acquired many of his works.

‘I grew up working with metal and pushing it to its limits whilst working in our family’s engineering business. Then I studied engineering for a short while before building up a sign writing and fleet branding business. We had contracts with some big companies applying signage to hundreds of refrigeration trucks. I got to thinking then about all the carbon emissions coming from all these diesel units running 24 hours a day, multiplied by the hundreds and thousands units doing the same thing every day, all day and night all over the planet. I thought then, something must be done to reduce a risk like this to our climate’ Johannes said.  ‘It’s so great that some of the big companies are moving towards the electrification of their trucks. I’ll be queuing up for the first electric vehicle that can tow a tonne of sculpture!

‘I then became one of the founding members of Sustainable Energy Now (SEN).  I helped with the marketing and logo, and a few other things.  And I went on to study art and sculpture at Midland Tafe and Central Tafe under the tuition of  Stuart Elliot and Tony Jones.’ 

‘I pay a lot of attention to ways to reduce our carbon emissions at home and in my studio.  We have an electric car, which in 8 years has cost us little except the replacement of rubber.  I try where it’s possible to source metals from countries and companies that are committed to green energy, transport and consumables. I wish Australia would manufacture green metals!  I also do need to do some offsets. This year we’ve offset with EverClime.  I like the way, with them, we can digitally track how well our offsets are going,’ he said.

‘I have always loved the hills lifestyle; I love the bush and shape of the land.  My wife and I, and our children, got involved in a Friends Group who did bush care along the Nestle Brae Creek, and then 30 years later, we started doing land care along the Kadina Brook (which I think is part of Quenda Creek).  And I’m learning all the time about the natural world we live in.  And there is always so much to learn – I’ve just come from a talk by Richard Wally about bush tucker’.

Johannes, you skilfully conjoin the arts with science, creativity with precision technology, and a love of nature with action for a safe sustainable planet. You are indeed an inspiration!