Running for the 21st year, Sculptures by the Sea returns to Bondi with stories of coming of age. This most spectacular coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama Beach will feature 104 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world from 19th October to 5th November 2017.
The ceremony opened with an acknowledgement of the traditional custodianship of the land and speeches by John Wakefield - newly elected Mayor of Waverley, Aqualand - Principal Sponsor for the event and David Handley - Founding Director of Sculptures by the Sea.
Handley reflected on the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition and looking to the future in regards to juggling support to the artists and providing a free public event.
He also expressed the importance of the work behind the scenes that is done, commenting on the towering sculptures, "can you imagine these being brought in by taxi and being put up in an hour, this is definitely not the case".
It's amazing to note some of the sculptures have travelled approximately 350,000 miles and at the artists' cost. In an attempt to bridge the artist freight costs, by donating $1 you can help 'buy a mile' to support artists and keep the show on the road. Tap & go donations are possible at the information marquees to help support the artist.
This year's recipient of the Aqualand Sculpture Award was David Ball from Mittagong for his Orb sculpture. David's orb showcases faceted sections to show angles and curves with a small orb to signify a break in unity.
Taking home $60,000, David spoke of "coming up trumps, (with his sculpture) it maybe not such a crazy idea after all" and "now I can afford to keep going and do exactly what I want". This sculpture is to be gifted to Sydney Harbour Federation Trust for permanent public placement in Sydney.
Coinciding with the 21st Sculptures by the Sea, one of the artists, Tango Conway tells me she's 21 years of age too. Tango Conway and Amelia Skelton are first-time exhibitors to Bondi whose exhibit is the last one to be found in the catalogue.
104 White Wash is located on the concrete pathway on the far side of the Tamarama Beach. Greeted by a framework of white sheets billowing in the wind, the dynamic duo describe their work showing borders of domestic imagery via the polyester fabric flapping in the wind "as ones' washing would do, the role of women and barriers that we humans put up in society". You wouldn't have known about the frantic sewing whilst they tested their works in the wind but it makes for a memorable experience, they tell me.
Artists Tango Conway and Amelia Skelton with their artwork
They had put forward their submission for Sculptures by the Sea and were planning their holidays. Minutes after they had booked their overseas flights, they received a phonecall informing them that their works would be included in this year's Sculptures by the Sea. With such excitement and enthusiasm bouncing from these ladies, they will be ones to keep an eye on.
I noted an artist adding some finishing touches on the beach. Speaking to Katy Holowko about her work 87 Piece of Mind, you are confronted by a rather large looking charcoal coloured brain. She explained to me that a metal framework was made and "stockings filled with sand to mimic the look of a brain" which was then used to provide a mould for recycled plastics to be poured over only a week ago. As society uses so much plastic, this sculpture is a reminder that plastic is becoming part of the ecological cycle whether we want it to or not.
From becoming such a nuisance product, this sculpture provides the possibilities of recycled plastics, "as it weatherproof, durable and childproof" Katy describes. Heard from the artist herself, she invites children and adults alike to sit and touch her sculpture, so don't be afraid to do just that.
Aqualand Artist Talks will be offered free on the weekends on the comfort of beanbags to hear about stories and the artist's perspective. Watch this space for times.
This years' collection is magnificent with incredible works. As I walked by listening to peoples' conversations, their reactions and particular points of view, even conversing on the best photography angle. Don't forget to buy a program at either Bondi or Tamarama for a detailed map and brief description of each of the artists' works.
The public is invited to experience the exhibition and with each year, the sculpture scene is taken further, transforming and capturing its audience young and old.
Please note, it does get crowded during this exhibition period with lots of people taking pictures along the way. My tips are to come early or later in the afternoon or mid-week to miss the weekend crowds.
How to get there via public transport?
If coming from the city, catch the train from Town Hall (Platform 5/6) to Bondi Junction. (Please note that the escalators are out of action so you will need to use the stairs or lift).
Make your way out of either side of the Bondi Junction train station and head towards to the bus terminal. Take the escalators up where you see rows of seating and signposted letters. You want to find Bus Stop L to South Bondi. Catch the bus 361 to the last stop which will take you to Sandridge Street near Fletcher Street which is only a short walk to Marks Park.
How to get there with prams?
My advice is to travel light as there are sections with steep steps and bring a friend as there are 5 sets of steps to contend with if you are adamant doing the whole walk. A shorter walk would be to starting with access from Fletcher Street to Marks Park and making your way to Tamarama Beach which avoids the climb and covers the majority of the sculptures.
Baby change and toilets are available at Bondi Junction station and Bondi Junction bus terminal.
Established toilets facilities are available at Marks Park and Tamarama Park. As well as water bottle refill stations.
Choices of food options at the café at Tamarama Beach or a BBQ kransky at the nearby food tent is more for on the go and a delicious option too.
Best part for kids?
The majority of the sculptures are found at Tamarama Beach and Marks Park which the kids will be able to roam free and have a ball checking out.
Shuttle bus service Free shuttle bus service is running from the start and finish locations in Bondi and Tamarama for those tired kids. Running only on Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. All vehicles will have booster seats and baby capsules to assist parents with small children with stops Notts Avenue, Bondi and Tamarama.