Every year around Bondi Beach for about two weeks they have the FREE ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ festival, which does what you could expect. It’s been going 17 years, so it must be good!

According to the guidebook its the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world, and the largest free cultural event in Australia! There were over 100 sculptures (107). Knowing it would be busy, we went one weekday evening after work. It was popular, but not stupidly busy. The area between Bondi and Tamarama beach is very scenic already, so with added sculptures there were some pretty cool views.

I’m not particularly arty, but sculpture is probably my favorite kind of visual art. I really enjoyed it, especially with the sculptures out in the natural landscape rather than in a gallery. Admittedly some of them were pretty weird, and I didn’t really ‘get’ them. Here are some of the highlights for me.  I added some artistic commentary from the brochure in places.

Like a flower swaying in the wind – One of two moving sculptures.


Multiverse – Cool stacked discs which reminded me a bit of a mountain cairn. Apparently this actually ‘expresses conundrums of time and space and refers to the idea of multiple universes’. So there.


Ocean cathedral – Archway made of bamboo which framed the landscape…’transient and ephemeral, swaying in the wind.’


The Great Bondi Sharehouse – This was fabric anemones and sea creatures attached to a big rock. They were really bright and colorful so looked really cool against the rock.


Diminish and ascend – Very cool staircase pointing off into the air. ‘A compelling perspective illusion that requires the viewer to literally diminish to ascend’.


Nomadic city – Mini tents filled with plants on the cliffs and powered by solar lights. This one was cool in a weird way and reminded me of some crazy spot Matt would think its a good idea to camp in! Really its a commemorative work to nomadic communities displaced from their homelands.


Plastic world – A globe of the Earth made of plastic rubbish left in the sea.


East of the Mulberry tree – the legend of the ten red crows – Crocheted polypropylene crows


Passage secret – Big metal oval you can look through out to see which ‘pushes the boundaries of reality to open portals into another dimension’! Maybe we should have walked through it, but I went with the ‘don’t touch the art’ approach.


Horizon – My favorite. A ball filled with water on the cliff which reflects the landscape and sea back, upside down. It acts as ‘a monument to the coastal landscape and the constant line of the horizon.’ Yours for a mere $80,000!


Which do you like best?

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