A Tale of two cultures part one

Culture Type 1: Sculpture by the Sea
Stopped by both Iggy’s bread stores to find only 3 bagels left. Coffee from three blue ducks, and a chocolate and pecan muffin ($6.50). Started the walk at Glamorama.


I love the little bay at Tama, it is a nice natural amphitheatre – perfectly made for an outdoor art exhibition such as Sculpture by the Sea. Apparently Princess Mary & Prince Frederick of Denmark had one of their first dates here, after they met at the Sydney Olympics, and will be heading here on the closing day to present the people’s Prize. There were hordes of schoolkids getting their dose of art, and a small excavation* happening on the grassy area, looking for “Alice the Elephant”, from the Wonderland Circus in the 1920s.

My mood was seeking bright colours and loud statement pieces.


I loved the giant tortoise; (Mark Swartz, Reuben Solomon, Charmaine Tung) made out of recycled car tyres. They were nailed onto a wooden frame in a pattern that brings to mind each ‘segment’ on a turtle shell. Inside the shell of the turtle were all the collectables that make a home – like maps of the world, where to get the best turtle food, and books on the environment.

ship of fools 2

The ship of fools (Deborah Halpern) was next; each sail was made up from a mosaiced figurehead, and even the back was decorated. The whole thing comprised of little mosaic tiles which must have taken an age to glue on. It was a bit Picasso-esque.

mini ship

I noted that both mini-heads available in the Sculpture Inside area were already sold. :-(. Well, I didn’t have a spare $20k. Maybe I’ll try and do something similar with chicken wire and plaster.

Message in a bottle

On the southern headland overlooking Tama was a giant green bottle. Message in a bottle (Steven Thomson, Jonas Allen). If you downloaded an application for your smart phone, you too could see the picture of a rather blocky mermaid sitting on the bottle. I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but tried it anyway. The tourists were much more intent on taking amusing shots of drinking poses beside the bottle.

pot will fly 2011-2

I much preferred pot will fly 2011-2 (Yoshio Nitta), and it seemed especially poignant when you can see Waverly Cemetery through the middle.


The year is 2011, and we just celebrated 11.11 11/11/11. So, fittingly, there was a sculpture titled 11:11 (Alison Lee Cousland), priced at $11,000. Will there be an equivalent next year?

Weeds and ghosts

Around the corner in Mackenzies Bay, was weeds and ghosts (Jennifer Orchard), a bizarre collection of brightly coloured creatures. They were so cute, I wanted to take one home.


On Mackenzie Point, spindrift 2010 (Bronwyn Berman), put me in mind of swirling whirlpools and the extruded stainless steel deer I have been dreaming to be a tree … II (Byeong Doo Moon), yearning to reach the sea.

Whale carving

How many times have I walked along the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk, and not seen the Aboriginal rock carving? I guess you are blind unless you are not looking for it. This is a carving of a whale and a fish.


this is one of those things that hopefully will just go away over time (Bjorn Godwin, Jette Geji) was so simple, it made me laugh out loud. Just a collection of signs, audio and posters, it was classically “Not for Sale”. There was one pair of red budgie smugglers (swimming briefs), with a big “NO” emblazoned on the backside, captured inside a bird cage. Was it a statement against budgie smugglers? Or a statement against Tony Abbot, who is well known for going for a swim in red budgie smugglers?


I don’t how they do it: but the SxS organisers have managed to involve an apartment block in The Boot as part of the exhibition. The yearning (Margarita Sampson), a collection of beanbag lotus like pods in the bay, and attached to the balconies of the apartment block behind. How do you get this past the strata committee?

I am concious that this is a long post, even for me, so I’ll finish with mokuy 2010 (Nawurapu Wunungmurra), a collection of bronze spirit totems.


Feeling fatigued and low on blood sugar: we dealt with the short term with some white nectarine sorbet from Pompei’s, and the longer term by grabbing a whole rack of ribs from Hurricane’s. What a perfect segway into A Tale of two cultures part two!

My complaint in the past has been that a lot of the sculptures seem to be too similar in materials and form as the years before. I think this is they way to do sculpture by the sea: go every other year, so I can appreciate the sculptures more.

* it turns out the little excavation dig, “The Search For Alice” (Rod McRae) was *also* a sculpture!


One response to this post.

  1. […] I promised you some more culture in part one. […]


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