For a Wednesday night, Cottesloe beach was crawling with movement. All walks of life stood sharing the sand, armed with fish and chips and a ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ information booklet. Even as dusk turned to night, the crowds remained, bouncing between the welded up ‘Panel Van’, the ‘Thought Process’, ‘Migrating Spirits’ and ‘Screwing by the Sea’.
These were just a few of the 73 sculptures featured at the eighth annual ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ exhibition.
Aside from the picturesque location, the free exhibition itself is well worth visiting. It is the one chance Perth has to walk barefoot through a myriad of artwork located right on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean. Over 200,000 visitors are expected to leave footprints in the sand around the sculptures from now until March 19. The weekends are definitely the busiest time to catch a glimpse of the fantastic arrangement along Cott beach so it was nice to experience the mid-week tide of interest.
With the work coming from across the country, including a number of prestigious international sculptures, each piece is representative of the artist’s own individual context, making the whole collection interesting and relevant to all eyes.
It is hard to choose a favourite from the sculptures because when the sun hits the back of them and the ocean colours the front of them they all seem to come alive. The panel of judges must also struggle with this task but they do succeed in choosing. This year’s major prize, the “NAB Western Australian Sculptor Scholarship” was awarded to Paul Caporn’s ‘Dump’ – a bright yellow truck spilling over with sand. Caporn’s scholarship of $15,000 is designed to provide the artist with the funds to help him transition to the next stage of his career.
There are many other prizes up for grabs, including the “Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation” won this year by WA artist Elaine Clocherty for ‘Belonging’. This is a piece which is representative of the viewers “interconnectedness with local landscapes and ecologies”.
The public is open to vote until March 18 for ‘The Sculpture by the Sea’s People’s Choice Prize’ and ‘NAB Kid’s Choice Prize’.
It is a must to get down on that foreshore before then to cast your opinion on the most evocative, or attractive, or meaningful, or suitable sculpture for the awards. Just look for a ‘Guidepost for the Wind’ located on the jetty, or a huge crouching steel figure which looks out across the water.
By Jessica Smith
Photography by Dominique Chapman