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By Madeleine Gray on October 1, 2017 in News

Nearly as good as the real thing.

From October 19 to November 5, Sculpture by the Sea will once again be returning to the Beaches of the East, and this time for a particularly significant mile- stone: 20 years of Sculpture.

It is hard to get our heads around the fact that it has been 20 years since 1997, but hey, the facts don’t lie (unless of course they are alternative facts).

David Handley, the festival’s Founding Director, cites an out- door sculpture garden in Prague, “running away from the corporate world,” and the natural wonder of the Bondi to Bronte coastline as three of his major motivations for founding Sculpture by the Sea back in that time.

He remembers, “Returning to Sydney in 1996, friends who knew about my idea suggested I take a walk along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk (thanks Marie-Vio- laine and Matthew). All around me I saw natural plinth after natural plinth where sculptures of all descriptions could be installed.”

He adds, self-deprecatingly, “At the time, I was expecting to land a major film job any day, so the idea for the exhibition was put on hold until I realised the film job was not going to come through.

“With nothing scheduled in my life for several months, I thought
I would set ‘Art by the Sea’ in motion, as I was still thinking of including paintings. It did not take more than a day to realise paint- ings would be an absolute liability in the wind – and sometimes rain
- of the cliff-top walk. So that idea was dropped.”

And so Sculpture began.

This year’s line-up of local, national, and international artists is unsurprisingly stellar, as ever. Internationally, there will be sculptures by sculptors from Japan, Denmark, Slovakia, the United States, and more.

Milan Kuzica, for example, from the Czech Republic, will be exhibiting his work, Green Life, which won him the Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation after its showing at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, earlier this year. The work is a towering but organically shaped bright green pylon, and we cannot wait to see where it will be exhibited along the coast.

A focus of this year’s festival, which has been increasingly at the forefront of Sculpture for some time now, is art education for school children. An education program has been compiled to stimulate teachers and students, expand language and observation skills, and encourage creativity. Students are encouraged to cultivate individual responses to the art through directed interactive discussion and art-making activities with exhibiting contemporary artists and Sculpture by the Sea educators. Talk about lucky kids!

Says the team at Sculpture, “Visual art plays an important role in the social, cultural, and spiritual lives of individuals. It offers a wide range of opportunities to appreciate meaning – personally, culturally, and as a form of communication. By developing a unique, affordable, creative, and accessible education program, Sculpture by the Sea hopes to provide quality education experiences to an increasingly diverse audience.”