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Guess The Sculpture

By Dan Hutton on November 1, 2011 in Arts

Sculptures of all shapes and sizes are set to take pride of place amongst our sand and surf in November, in what will mark the 15th anniversary of Sculpture by the Sea. In a salute to the majestic backdrop of the rocky cliffs and blue ocean, the exhibition will once again witness the installation of over 100 artworks, both the weird and wonderful alike.

Having become one of Sydney’s most celebrated cultural events, Sculpture by the Sea showcases the world’s leading talent and brings to the public an opportunity to absorb such rarity in true Aussie style. For where else in the world can you swim in the ocean, throw a snag on the barbie and indulge in some serious art all at the same time?

Since its inception, the exhibition has built a steady and remarkable reputation for bringing in artistic heavyweights from around the globe and this year is no different, with the likes of senior Australian sculptor Sir Anthony Caro putting his work on show. For the vast majority though, for whom that name will mean little, and for the many who have but a quasi interest in sculpture and art, the outdoor exhibition – which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each day – is a festival of interest for other, less sophisticated reasons. And when one considers some of last year’s more quirky displays – such as the oversized military tank made entirely from filing cabinets and desk lamps – it’s not too difficult to imagine why. Put simply, it’s just really cool.

Recent Fine Art graduate Christina Cox thinks that the exhibition is a great complement to the Aussie art scene and a must on the Eastern Suburbs ‘to do list’, but she admits it has its drawbacks.

“I love Sculpture by the Sea. I’d love to have my own work there some day soon, but it’s a pain in the arse when I’m trying to do my daily run from Coogee to Bondi and back. The crowds are a shit fight,” she said.

The story behind the event’s evolution is just as interesting as many of the pieces it puts on display, having started – like most great ideas – from humble and meek beginnings. David Handley, the Founding Director, describes his vision for the event as having spurred from a love for community activity. Beginning in 1997 as a one-day exhibition, organised and facilitated by a band of volunteers, with a simple budget of $100 and a total prize pool of $5000, Sculpture by the Sea has transformed into a two-week long extravaganza. It heralds what is surely one of the world’s most dynamic and dramatic art events. 15 years on and the grand prize, The Balnaves Sculpture Prize, now stands at $65, 000 with over $75, 000 given out in smaller awards, such as the Allens Arthur Robinson People’s Choice Award.

So make the most of daylight saving, our stunning beaches and all that extra cement and metal on display and spend a few hours in the sun playing ‘guess the sculpture’ with your mates; they’re not all as obvious to decipher as last year’s giant hen.

The exhibition will take place between the 3rd and 20th of November.