From a giant buddha-like man on a cliff to works made using 3D printers and an installation that will be set on fire, Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea has served up its usual, unusual selection of works.
Organisers expect up to 500,000 people to attend the exhibition – now in its 22nd year – which was launched on Thursday and runs until early November along the Bondi to Tamarama walk.
Indigenous artist Nicole Monks and collaborators used eucalyptus leaves, native timbers and other materials to create gawura guruwin (whale shark) on Tamarama Beach which will be set on fire on Friday night.
“The fire is about connecting city kids and adults back with nature, the elemental forces,” Monks told AAP.
The artist said the work asks bigger, global questions and was inspired by nearby Aboriginal carvings of a whale shark at Mackenzies Point.
“If there’s carvings up there, thousands of years old, they (whale sharks) might have come here all the time,” she told AAP.
Are they not here now because of global warming, she wonders.
“Is it pollution? What’s the wider story? The global story?”
Working through rain over three days the group assembled about six tonnes of wood.
Keizo Ushio from Japan is exhibiting for the 20th time – this year with Moebius in Moebius – and says the number of international artists involved has exploded over time.
“What hasn’t changed is people’s connection to the event,” he told AAP on Thursday.
For his first time at ScuIpture by the Sea, Israel’s Itamar Freed created a 3D body scan of himself posing as Venus of Botticelli’s famed painting.
“It feels amazing to be part of it, I think it’s the most interesting and largest event I’ve taken part in,” Freed told AAP.
Eight artists from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing have works on display including Mu Boyan’s sculpture Bank 2017 which depicts a large, fleshy man made from painted stainless steel.
The announcement of the winning work has been delayed after heavy rain meant not all works could be installed in time for Thursday’s launch.
The award recipient’s sculpture will be gifted to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust for display at Georges Heads in Headland Park.