Sculpture by the Sea

Australia’s largest sculpture exhibition Sculpture by the Sea takes place annually along the 2km coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama, two popular Sydney beaches. What a different experience from looking at immovable bronze statues of explorers and royalty on plinths. A lot of the sculptures have been made specifically to fit a nook or aspect of the walk, they use all types of materials and methods of construction and are there for just two weeks. By Meredith D’Alton

This year it is estimated that over half a million people will see the 100 sculptures in two weeks from October 18 to November 4. Compare this to the first year 1997, when 25,000 attended to see 64 sculptures in a one day event. There are sculptures by 77 Australian and 36 international artists.

It has become a habit for some Sydneysiders, and just as some of us look forward to the next series of cricket, others look forward to exploring the cliff ledges, beaches and rocky platforms where the sculptures are on display.

Since Picasso’s hollow cubist arrangements of metal plates revolutionised sculpture, it has never been the same. In this exhibition, bronze, marble and stone are joined by bamboo, plastic and there is even a virtual artwork. These ingenious sculptures are making people smile as they enjoy the fresh air and exercise along the coastline.


Sculpture is not the cheapest art form to work in. The materials can be expensive and transporting the sculptures certainly is. The exhibitors have been assisted with scholarships, subsidies, mentorships and prizes and the sculptures are for sale. This all helps to make the exhibition sustainable for the future.

The Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Prize of $70,000 was awarded to USA Sculpture Peter Lundberg for his sculpture barrel roll. The judges were impressed ‘with its majestic scale, its visceral energy and impact in the natural setting.’ It’s all in the eye of the beholder I guess. The Allens People’s Choice Prize of $5000 will be decided by the votes of people on the walk and announced at the close of the exhibition on Sunday 4 November, when the most popular sculpture will be revealed.

Since 1998, Sculpture by the Sea has been presented annually at the beautiful Cottesloe Beach in Perth, WA and will be there next from 8 to 25 March 2013. Since 2009, it has also been presented biannually in Aarhus, Denmark where it has proven to be as popular as in Australia.

At Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair we are starting in a small way by offering inexpensive sculpture workshops. Sue Cherry of Paverpol will be leading classes in creating garden art with Paverpol, a water based non toxic fabric hardener which is weatherproof when dry. Go to to see more.

Beefa Bird


Eggs with Legs





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