11 things to ponder at Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2015



Ponder for a moment sorting through 300 submissions to end up with 69 sculptures from 70 local national and international artists, then working with these artists for 9 months so that 220,000 visitors can marvel at them. That’s the truth that sits behind the 11th Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Cottesloe, Perth’s largest free public outdoor art exhibition.

Sculpture by the Sea red man

© The Ponder Room


The opening morning began with a welcome to country by Richard Wally who not only blessed the sculptures, he left us with three important ideas to ponder. Wally said it’s important to …

‘create things with your hands that relate to your spirit’,

Sculp sea welcome

© The Ponder Room

and that …

‘the stronger the respect we have for each other the stronger the community’.

Two thoughts that are well worth pondering for a while. He also cautioned us that while artists create the work, it’s then …

‘over to the audiences perception as we each take on our own view of the piece.’

All great reminders for this year’s exhibition.

South Fremantle artist Olivia Samec and her partner, James Moe, gave us something else to ponder. A lesson in thinking outside the box when they entered the first intentionally submerged piece near the groyne. It seemed so obvious I pondered why it hadn’t been done before. But then I heard some of the murmurings about how difficult this was to achieve.

Major of Cottesloe Jo Dawkons spoke about the exhibitions ‘impact, beauty, humour, and style’ and the fact that the pieces can be recycled, who knew?  I pondered for a moment about where the giant babies might end up.

Sculpt Sea baby

© The Ponder Room

She also mentioned the beautiful Water Dreaming piece by the Warlukurlangu Collaboration. It’s a series of half buried pvc balls arranged like a dot painting that were already proving ‘an interactive hit with families’  even before the exhibition opened.

scukpt by sea balls

© The Ponder Room

It must have been incredibly hard to judge, so it’s not surprising that for the second year the judges have awarded two artists the $10,000 Western Australian Sculptor Scholarship. The scholarship can be used for travel, study and to advance their careers. They can also exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi this October.

sculpt by sea ball chain - Copy

Joint Winner © The Ponder Room

As stated in the previous post one of the winners was local artist Norton Flavel, you may remember him from his huge wine bladder or ‘goon bag’ last year . This year he brought us Lucky Country which he says …

 ‘references the Australian psyche, the tension between positives and negatives and what we choose to see.

As Wally said it’s about perception.

Sculpt Sea winner tree

Joint Winner © The Ponder Room


Given the number of bush fires ringing Perth over the past few months Bridgetown artist Kim Perrier’s piece was mesmerising.

His notes say the piece celebrates the relationship between trees and humanity ‘the tree becoming the vessel for transmigration of soul’. Perrier ponders the tree as …

a sentient being dwelling in three worlds a link between heaven earth and underground’.

I’d never thought of trees in that way and have no idea how he achieved this beautiful piece. I do know that I stood staring at it for a long time.

Founding Director, David Handley said that Norton and Kim have ‘both made ambitious and exciting works which are an immense credit to each of them and wonderful additions to the show.’

The Hon. John Day MLA, Minister for Planning, Culture and the Arts announced that the WA Government, through Tourism WA, would renew its support for three years. yay!

Tourism Minister Liz Harvey MLA said the exhibition ‘is one of Western Australia’s favourite events and provides the perfect platform to show the world out beach culture and laid back lifestyle.’ So true.

As I made my way from the opening I pondered …

  1. I was pleased that Perrier’s piece was located in a position that meant lots of people could see it, including people with disabilities who may not make it onto the sand.
  2. It seems some people’s creativity is never ending, like Tim Macfarlane Reid who was inducted into the 10 year club, having entered a piece for the past ten years.
  3. If you go see the show and have even a hint of enjoyment, ponder for a moment about the hours and hours of work that went into the pieces in backyard sheds and gardens. Then make sure you put a dollar or five into one of the buckets so we can see it again next year.
  4. Spare a thought too for the people who give up their time to help fill the 1,700 voluneteer hours so that we can enjoy the exhibition.
  5. But mostly I pondered … thank god I wasn’t a judge.
Sculp Sea donate - Copy

© The Ponder Room


Sculpture by the Sea runs from 6 to 23 March 205

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