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Giant polka dot pumpkin sculpture lands in Australia

A large polka dot pumpkin by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is being unveiled on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

A polka-dot pumpkin by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has been installed at Victoria's Pt. Leo Estate.

Australia's first big polka dot pumpkin by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has been unveiled at Pt. Leo Estate on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

The three-metre-wide red and black gourd has been installed with a view of the sea, its design a famed example of the globally renowned artist's work.

"I am very pleased to showcase my work in such a wonderful place," the artist said in a statement.

"The magical fusion of nature and my work is something special that can only be seen in each location."

The Pt. Leo Estate features more than 50 sculptures from around the world, with the pumpkin joining a collection of artworks by the likes of KAWS, Jaume Plensa and Australians Inge King and Clement Meadmore.

Kusama was born in 1929 and has become one of the world's most successful artists, influencing her contemporaries Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg during the 1960s.

The dots reference her childhood, when she lived on a small farm and became lost in a field of flowers which began to speak to her, the flower heads resembling dots that became her globally-recognised motif.

"A polka dot has the form of the sun…a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm," she said.

"Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing, Polka dots become movement…Polka dots are a way to infinity."

Pumpkins, too, are from her past - although Japan's food supplies were disrupted during World War II, the Kusama family's storehouse was full of pumpkins, which she ate until she was sick of them.

The artist has painted their organic and irregular shapes for years, and they came to the forefront of her work in the 1980s and 90s.

A much-loved yellow and black pumpkin sculpture, installed at the end of a pier on Japan's Naoshima art island, made global headlines when it was washed out to sea during a typhoon in 2021.

The pumpkin was the largest the artist had ever made at the time, and was recovered and remade before being returned to its place on the pier.

The artwork is open to visitors from Saturday.


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