Sculpture By The Sea – 2020


Around a year ago, 2019, I was spending a couple of months in Western Australia, with my wife and Aussie family. I think it was some kind of revenge on my daughter and her family, after they had spent a month, over the Christmas period, with us in the UK.

Cottesloe Beach – Western Australia

It just so happened that, in the February 2019, Cottesloe were holding their annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition. We visited twice. Once with my daughter and son-in-law, and once with my grandaughter. We spent a glorious few hours, wandering along the shore absorbing the suns rays and, hopefully, a little bit of culture. Anyway, I’ve recently discovered that I did not share this experience with you. Very remiss of me. Let me rectify that error.

As it happens, 12 months on I find I am, once again, spending time in WA. The reason I am here will be the subject of a separate post. However, this March, Cottesloe were holding their 16th annual exhibition. My granddaughter and I made a date to go and get some more culture. The following photo’s are my record of that visit. The words below each image are those of the artists, taken from the exhibition catalogue.

Say hello to Cottesloe Sculptures By The Sea, 2020

Anta Omri is a work by Ayad Alqaragholli and his statement resonates ..

In my daily life in Australia I observe couples immersed in the intimacy of public affection, symbolising to me happiness, peace and freedom. This is everything to me after migrating from my birth country of Iraq where this is not always possible.

These three images are, in fact, alternative views of a single object. Showing the way the light affects the artwork as the angle of view changes.

A father cannot face his daughter; we come to know him as ‘Regret’. The young daughter winces, choking on a mouthful of coal. She wants the voice of her generation heard. This is the Lost Generation.

Similar to ‘The Burghers of Calais’, farmers experience a mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and despair. These two figures are one and the same.The isolation translates into a kind of cultural invisibility – they exist as ghosts in the landscape.

I love these metallic figures that become ghost as you walk around them.

Two organic figures are stood side by side, heir reductive forms work in unison and opposition as though pulling and pushing winds. Their singular ground connection creates a delicate structural balancing act as though they are caught in motion.

Here are a trio that I have given the monochrome treatment

My granddaughter getting into the spirit of the artists intention “to sit and listen to the silent story of a lone Cottesloe tree”. This, in direct contravention of the instruction to not touch the exhibit. Does sitting on constitute touching ?

Time for a little controversy. The Homer Homer exhibit has been the subject of accusations of plagiarism. Cool Shit subsequently admitted the inflatable work was inspired by Berlin artist Eike Konig’s Homer versus Homer.

Old story, New hero

Here is a rarity. I virtually never appear in my own photographs. Here I am accompanied by my granddaughter.

This exhibit gave us great entertainment as a magpie was attacking its own reflection, time and time again.

I sometimes wonder if the artists are having a huge laugh at our expense. Take “Flow” by John Petrie as an example. To me this is just a pile of Basalt off-cuts such as one might find in a quarry. Mr. Petrie says ..

The work mimics the geological rhythms and flow of the earth’s crust and reminds us that all stone was once in liquid form. The polished surface reveals the beauty of the stone.

Sorry John ….. not to me it didn’t.

Many of the artist exhibiting this year have an environmental message to impart.

For example, Sam Hopkins doom laden forecast that this skeletal form will become the norm by 2030. Due to the changes to ecosystems and the bioclimatic limit being reached by our trees.

Merle Davis focusses on our oceans referencing the risk to all sea life threatened by our careless dumping of rubbish and in particular, plastics.

And finally, rather prophetic and definitely of our time …..

Viruses need a living host to survive so they are not likely to completely kill their host until they have found another living host on which to live …

And so finally, a huge thank you to Cottesloe for once again hosting a superb show. It is a shame that the Coronavirus had to throw a spanner in the works and curtail this years show. Let’s hope that normality can be resumed in time for next years exhibition.

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