This October marks 21 years of Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi and it is inevitable that an important age birthday of this kind generates many coming of age stories.
Any definition of what it means to come of age includes wide-ranging and complex themes, however as we enter into the final production period for next month’s Bondi opening we reflect on the recurring themes of education, relationships and friendships that tend to feature in any narrative that focuses on growth and development
At 21 Sculpture by the Sea has not, in essence changed from 1997 with the same vision to foster the appreciation of sculpture as an art form and the careers of artists, and to provide significant educational and cultural benefits for Sydney. We have remained a free to the public exhibition that continues to represent the very broad church that is contemporary sculpture, taking the lead from the artists that choose to exhibit with us.
A large cohort of the exhibitors at this year’s Bondi show was inspired by Sculpture by the Sea as children and teenagers to become an artist. Each has had their own journey of discovery including the accessibility of our exhibition to allow them as adults to combine a love of art and landscape; the inspiration to produce work of appeal to a large democratic and secular audience; the revelation of the ‘can-do’ attitude of the family of sculptors created over a 21 year period to support each other with the inevitable obstacles of participation. You can read their stories in this year’s catalogue essay by Prof. Sasha Grishin AM that will be available through our website and from our Catalogue & Information marquees on the Bondi coastal walk from 19 October – 5 November.
Any journey to 21 years raises the question of what is next. We are unwavering in the pursuit of our vision and we hope to continue to spark an interest in more children to want to become our next generation of artists. For the artists, we will continue to provide a supportive platform that allows exploration of identity that allows for the sharing of stories locally and globally and includes stories of the passage to adulthood.
As for one small example of what next? For the first time since 2006 when he exhibited the now iconic melted ice cream truck, ‘Hot with the Chance of a Late Storm’, James Dive returns with a work on the Bondi coastal walk. James was launched to international prominence by the melted Mr Whippy van and this year’s work, likewise a humorous piece of social-environmental commentary, sees him continue to bring bold, unconventional ideas to life. This opportunity has been made possible by a new initiative, the Transfield Australian Invited Artist Program, thanks to the Belgiorno-Nettis family.
To help you get organised for your visit please see our information for visitors and local residents. We’ve got tips on getting to the exhibition as well as some great local places to eat and stay.
There are many ways to add to your experience when you visit Sculpture by the Sea. Pick up a catalogue to find out about the artists ($10 from our helpful volunteers at the information marquees) drop into a free weekend Aqualand Artist Talk, check out our suggested Walking Routes for people with varying degrees of mobility.
For schools we offer a free online Education Program and our heavily subsidised education program on the coastal walk including sculpture making workshops and focus tours.
For people with disabilities we offer free Tactile Tours. Bookings essential.
19 October – 5 November 2017
Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 8399 0233 | [email protected]