My first weekend in the dazzling West Australian sun took me to Cottesloe Beach and their annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. This was the 14th annual event where 73 artists from 18 countries (including Australia) were displaying their incredible creations in this spectacular coastal setting. Beautiful Cottesloe Beach, with its white sand and the turquoise Indian Ocean is a very popular spot for locals. The exhibition is featured from the sea wall all the way along the sand towards North Cottesloe and on the surrounding grassed areas creating a beautiful sculpture park.
The exhibition has a number of sponsors who enable this fab event to happen. The main sponsor is the huge mining company Rio Tinto, and the event is also supported by Australia council for the arts. The day we were there it was the weekend, and the beach was packed. The sculptures are a part of the landscape and not really fenced off and so people sit next to them and mingle with them. It’s pretty difficult to take a picture without some one in it. Luckily this often adds extra interest to the shot! The sculpture of the giant snorkelling face looking as if was rising out of the sand, was by Danger Dave and Christian Rager called Damien Hirst Looking for Sharks. A small snack scoffing child photo bombed our picture as he sheltered from the sun under the huge swimming goggles.
The People’s Choice Prize is part of the visitor experience at Sculpture by the Sea,
and $5,000 is awarded to the artist who has created the most popular sculpture, as voted by the visitors to the exhibition. This year’s prize went to the one which was my favourite too – B. Jane Cowie’s Swirling Surround. It was a dome of brightly coloured plastic fish swimming in a circular shoal. This piece was multi coloured and sparkly in the sun, and you could also climb into the middle of it which of course we did. Anything interactive is always guaranteed extra attention!
Another dramatic piece was Final Approach, by Geoff Overheu in collaboration with the Beverley Soaring Society ( who I imagine have something to do with gliders) It looked like a real red glider was plunging into the beach. The bright red of the plane really looked incredible with the backdrop of that stunning white, blue sand/sky/sea combo. Despite its realism, the beach goers around it however looked fairly unconcerned.
In Awe by Rebecca Rose used coloured oars to create a stunning piece which also made patterns on the sand which attracted plenty of attention.
One of the creations which really amused me was the digitally illuminated in-the-road sign, the brain child of Karl de Waal, called Get a Haircut, Get a Job. Instead of saying the usual boring stuff like ‘road ahead closed’ or ‘reduce speed now,’ the helpful sign dished out a series of pieces of advice, home truths which its creator obviously thought everyone needed to hear. Loved it!
I do wish the real signs would make a bit more of an effort.. I loved the indigenous face Great Southern Noongar by Australian artist Janine McAullay Bott, who makes rough hewn woven fibre sculptures of animals and people, dedicated to visualising and honouring Noongar culture. The funny spiky haired face just looked so interesting and curious – like he knew things.
The lurid green blobs which hung pendulously from a bar entitled Desire of Gravity, made me think of the unpleasant consequences of not wearing a sports bra during vigorous exercise, but there really were so many intriguing and entertaining pieces that I couldn’t include them all here.
The Cottesloe Sculptures are funny, clever, inventive and ingenious. If I get the chance next year – I will be back, a great day out!