12th Sculpture by the sea. Sydney Australia. 2008

Yesterday, my wife and I with some friends (Jade, Claude and Stephen) went to see the 12th annual exhibition of “Sculpture by the sea” along the shoreline between Tamarama and Bondi beaches. This year was the first time my wife and I have gone to the exhibition (mainly due to the fact that we tend to be on holidays elsewhere at this time of the year) and we were so impressed that I’m sure we will go to it again (if we are in town) next year.

Sculpture by the sea is free to the public and occurs on the coastal walk between Bondi Beach (the nearest large beach to downtown Sydney) and Tamarama Beach. The walk is always beautiful, but during Sculpture by the sea it becomes a wonderful stroll past the amazing products of some very talented people’s imaginations.

In some people’s minds, art is something remote, that is kept in the temples of culture we call museums. The Sculpture by the sea exhibition counters such preconceptions by being so accessible to everyone and as such it has proved to be a great success with the Sydney public. It was certainly very well attended.

Below is a small sampling of the works on exhibition.

On the beach by Tim Kyle

The work below is by Rod Mc Crae who was one of my teachers at the Sydney Institute of Design when I studied there. Rod is an incredibly talented man. His drawing skills are amazing and his mind is so creative. I used to be constantly amazed at how talented and inventive he is.

This work is a reference to Alice the elephant who was used at Bondi 97 years ago to provide elephant rides at the beach. The elephant figure is only one of a larger group of whimsical carnival characters.

Alice in wonderland by Rod Mc Rae

Prop by Jon Denaro

The life sized plastic soldier below seemed so full of pathos. Amazing and sad at the same time. It made me think about when I was a child and how long ago that was.

Soldier scale 1:1 by Ruth Bellotti and Steve Rosewell

Marguerite Derricourt’s “Flight of the Bogong” is about how the bogong moths (an important seasonal food supply for the Aborigines) during their migration from Queensland in the north to the Snowy Mountains in the south, end up being drawn in their millions to the brightly lit cities. 

A bit like people really, when you think about it.

The flight of the bogong by Marguerite Derricourt

When my friend Stephen saw the sculpture below he said that it reminded him of the best urinal in the world, that he’d ever seen at least, in a bar of of the Xin Tian Di area of Shanghai. Stephen said that the urinal was full of glass objects like the sculpture that one could empty their bladders on.

And I thought to myself, “why not!”

m.080801 by Toshio Iezumi

The iron urchins below was one of the few peices that obviously reflected the enviroment that the exhibition took place in.

Urchins by Kelly-Ann Lees

As soon as I saw the work below I thought of the computer game “Riven”.

Phenotype by Tim Wetherell

The “Fragment” below immediately reminded me of  “Cow up a tree” by John Kelly in Melbourne, even though it has nothing to do with the same ideas addressed by that work. I guess I thought about Kelly’s work because it has a tree with a black and white element in it.

Fragment by Kevin Draper

I just wish I could’ve taken a photo of the “Humpback gunship” without the cluttered background so it could be seen more clearly.

Humpback Gunship by Benjamin Gilbert

The drifter by Stephen Marr

There were many more works than what I’ve shown here, but of course I couldn’t put all of them up (damn the internet and how slow it is). What I’ve shown here aren’t necessarily the best works but they are the works I was better able to photograph due to the lighting conditions (shooting into the sun for example) and the masses of people in the way.

Yesterday was one of those perfect clear spring days where the weather was just right. Sunny and warm without being uncomfortable. It was such a great day spending time with friends, walking along a beautiful coastline looking at art. Pretty hard to beat and it’s one of the reasons why I love living in Sydney. 

9 thoughts on “12th Sculpture by the sea. Sydney Australia. 2008”

  1. Oh,my. You know I love this entry! I’m amazed you got the shots you did with the size of the crowds. This is such a wonderful idea wandering the beach and discovering these sculptures as if they washed up on the beach after a storm. I am so intrigued. How in the world do they do security for such a large exhibition at night? Is that even a consideration in your part of the world? When Christo did the golden arches here in NYC Central Park, that was part of the last minute expense of the project, to protect against vandalism. It was spread all over the park and it was a huge area. In the end, I don’t think it was even possible. Anyway, thanks for this. I’ll be back to relook during the day.

  2. Cool entry. I would like to have Fragment(nice shot BTW)and some Riven thingies for my yard.

    The Chinese urinal with glass objects does not sound very hygienic. I have to question the interest of peeing on glass objects. Perhaps one day, longitudinal urinals with ground markers will be created so men can constantly improve on their distance peeing abilities… since you guys need to be entertained even in the bathroom. (sigh)

  3. I made a big sigh when I read “perfect spring day”.
    Normally I’m a bit reserved when it comes to contemporary art but some of these pieces look really great.

  4. The Flight of the Bogong and the soldier stop me right in my tracks. The humpback gunship is both marvelous and arresting. I thought at first it was just a helicopter humpback but when I came back I realized it said, “gunship”. Do unto others…

    There is much to think about with these sculptures.

  5. What a wonderful integration of big sky, big beach, and dramatic, thought provoking sculptures. I like the juxtaposition of unexpected art in places that surprise you.

    A great series of photos- I enjoyed the walk along too.

  6. Pat

    I was able to get the shots by using my 10mm lens so I could get so close to the sculpture that there was less chance of including other spectators. I did ask a few people to step back and not cast shadows on the works that I photographed.

    As for the security arrangements, I don’t know but I suspect that something would’ve been done because unfortunately Australia has it’s quota of morons who vandalise public artworks.

    you are right when you say that some of the art provokes thoughts. The plastic soldier made me think about all sorts of things like:

    The nature of children’s toys.
    The inexorable progress of time.
    Being trapped within a stereotype.


    Thanks for the complement. The sculptures aren’t permanent but I have to admit that I wish they were but as Pat said, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t last long once the vandals had their way.


    I also love the Fragment sculpture. I shot it the way I did so it wasn’t lost in a distracting background.
    Men don’t “NEED to be entertained even in the bathroom”. Many of us make the choice to be amused while we urinate.


    After all, it’s good exercise for the prostate.


    It was so perfect. It was the sort day that makes one feel young again. I wish is was like that all the time. Not too hot and not too cold, but just right.
    As for the quality of the art, there were a few pieces that I found unappealing.


    I’m with you on your thoughts about where to look at art. It was such a perfect marriage of place and art.
    This sort of exhibition is starting to spread around the world. Now this is also a “Sculpture by the sea” in Western Australia and in Denmark.
    Perhaps the tourist department of Saint Croix could have one.

  7. Great photos and narrative. The one that made you think of “Riven” reminds me of the art on old calendars given away to doctors by pharmaceutical companies along time ago.

  8. Planetross

    Mmmm… that planet “Ross” that you come from is so different.

    Here on the planet earth, most give away calendars have images of either, scantily clad females of our species, or kittens (small fluffy immature carnivores common to this planet)

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