SCULPTURE BY THE SEA 2012 – best at dawn

The early birds are the fittest-looking birds at Bondi. R.M. Gomboc’s Repose.



Sydney’s greatest arts event, Sculpture by the Sea, attracts hundreds of thousands of people. So if you want to beat the crowds, it’s best to go at dawn, when only the joggers are awake.

I was there with the camera at 6am, to catch the sun rising over the art.

Parking is easier at this hour, and I made it just in time…

If there’s a bigger and better outdoor art event than this one anywhere in world, please let me know about it. I can’t believe there could be a more spectacular location than the cliffs between Bondi and Tamarama Beaches.

Towards Tamara, a perfect spot for a spot of art.

It’s pretty damn fabulous spot for a morning run even without the art.

I used to run like that, but then I thought…why bother? The ever-popular Keld Moseholm’s Balance with energies.

The serious photographers were already capturing the view. Dave Mercer’s Viewtm.

Chinese artist Zhang Yangen’s sea’s nest…with the Pacific Ocean beyond.

Cave Urban’s Menganang (Memory) – 222 bamboo poles representing the 222 victims of the Bali bombing. STOP PRESS: This was the work which won this year’s People’s Choice Award.

Eiji Hayakawa’s Space 2004


Alex Ritchie’s Kaleidoscope Cube on Tamarama Beach.

And now we pause for a short political rant…

The NSW government’s recently announced $1.7 billion cuts to education spending include the axing of ALL funding to ALL art courses in TAFE (technical and further education). Artists, the government reasons, are not productive. We can manage perfectly well without them, and if they enjoy their little arty hobbies, they should pay for their own training.

Yes, of course we all like art, but it’s a kind of fringe, optional extra thing in these tough economic times. It doesn’t contribute to the community’s wellbeing in the way, say, a casino does. (The government seems certain to license a second casino for Sydney very soon.)

Since the cuts come into effect at the end of this year, students who have started their three-year art courses will be left stranded. Their teachers, many of whom are also practising artists, will lose an important source of income and will not have the opportunity to pass on their skills and inspiration.

The artists whose work we admire at events like Sculpture by the Sea are not just talented, they are also trained. They have learned their skills in courses like the ones which are now likely to disappear. Sculpture by the Sea is attended by far more people than any single sporting event in the country. It is free, but it generates an awful lot of money in cappuccino sales.

If you think cutting funding for art training is short-sighted, you can find out more at the Save Art in TAFE Facebook page. NSW residents can help the cause by signing a petition.

Art matters. It makes us feel good about the world, about ourselves and about each other. Stephen Marr’s The Optimist. My favourite, incidentally.

There’s way too much to take in in just one trip to Sculpture by the Sea. I’ll be back with more. Stay tuned.

21 Comments

Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

21 responses to “SCULPTURE BY THE SEA 2012 – best at dawn

  1. Fabulous Richard. I’m inspired to do the sunrise visit.

  2. Great advice to visit it in the morning. Haven’t been there yet but we’ll do once we’ve got a free day. :)

  3. Early morning a great time to get the photos without crowds of people around and the lovely soft light of the sunrise is a perfect back drop

  4. Totally agree about the early morning – I used to live 30 seconds walk from the show during 2008-2010 but I still make the 6am journey – got some nice results on the pre-launch day morning ‘ might have seen you?!’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyhayes/sets/72157631794443742/

    • Wow, Gary, those are serious shots! I particularly like the way you focus on the textures as well as the shapes of the sculpture.

      I’ll have to go back and try again, and try harder. And I’ll need a TAFE photography course to learn how to get those effects.

  5. What a fabulous exhibition, it is certainly much nicer viewing such works in the outdoor than within the walls of a gallery or museum. Wish I could get there to see it myself, your photos will have to suffice, thank you for sharing :-)

  6. Pingback: SHOOTING SCULPTURE – finding an angle aint easy | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  7. have been pre-occupied with daughter’s health and haven’t been for a look this year…thanks for the photos.

  8. Hello, Would it be ok for ABC’s Behind the News to use ‘The Optimist’ on the homepage to promote this exhibition. I have sent more details via Flickr messages.

  9. I agree dawn is best but dusk is also lovely. Bueatiful photos.

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