For three weeks each October (aside from the last two years being cancelled due to COVID), Sculpture By The Sea is the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world, spreading out along the stunning rugged cliff tops stretching from the glorious sandy beach of Tamarama to Bondi, with jaw-dropping views out to the ocean and the far-reaching coastline. It’s good to have this fantastic free event back in Sydney (in its 24th year) and it seems it’s as popular as ever – attracting upwards of 500,000 visitors over the three weeks.
To really appreciate this show you need to get there early morning and, if possible, early in the week, to avoid the crush – and, even more essential (I think), on a gloriously sunny day. So, on a beautifully sunny Wednesday morning (clearly an aberration in this endless wet year) we made a beeline to Clovelly, parked the car and walked over the cliffs, past the cliff-top cemetery with its mournful decaying monuments, over through Bronte and on to the neighbouring pocket-sized beach of Tamarama.
Sculpture By The Sea has always been an eclectic, often nutty kind of show, with the predicable giant monolithic pieces juxtaposed with more ephemeral and quirky installations. Many are joyfully eccentric whilst others pose deeper narratives and questioning perspectives – but to most, including me I might add, it’s just a joy to be out and about in the sunshine on this stunning cliff top walk and enjoy (and sometimes smile wryly at) the enormous scope of creativity and imagination on show here.