The Complete Guide To Sydney Sculptures By The Sea

19 October 2016
Read Time: 2.9 mins

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Bondi Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. A temporary sculpture park spanning two kilometres of Sydney’s coastline, Sculpture by the Sea celebrates innovative artists from Australia and all around the world. This year more than 100 works of art will be displayed, all with the beautiful backdrop of the ocean. The largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world, Sculpture by the Sea welcomes an average of 520,000 visitors each year. To make the most of your visit this year, here is our complete guide to Sculpture by the Sea Sydney. 

When Is It

Sculpture by the Sea runs for three weeks every Spring in Sydney. This year it opens on Thursday 20th October and runs until Sunday 6th November. As it’s in a public space, the sculptures are on display around the clock, meaning you can visit on your morning run, or with the family on the weekend. Be warned however that weekends along the walk are usually packed. 

dust sculpture by norton flavel sculpture by the sea 'Dust' by Norton Flavel, Sculpture by the Sea, 2015. (Photo: J. Wyld)

Location & Getting There

The sculptures are all along the coastal walk between Tamarama Beach and Bondi Beach. The beaches often play stage for some sculptures, with the rest perched on top of rocks and cliffs along the coastline. You can reach the coastal walk from anywhere between Bondi and Tamarama; however, if you’re coming from the city, Bondi is probably the easiest point to reach. Buses stop right along the beachfront and there is (limited) parking beside the Bondi pavilion. From Bondi you’ll need to head south, past Bondi Icebergs and continue along the coastal path. Icebergs is the perfect spot to pause for a drink on your way back.

undulation benjamin storch sculpture by the sea 2015 'Undulation' by Benjamin Storch, Sculpture by the Sea 2015. (Photo: Jarrad Seng)

Sydney Sculpture Conference 

Sculpture: In Public Space, will be the first ever conference held as part of the Sydney Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Taking place on Thursday, 27th October at the Sydney Opera House, the conference will be spearheaded by an international panel of speakers discussing commissioning, curating and creating sculpture for public spaces. The keynote speech will be given by Clare Lilley, Director of Program of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the UK. And other speakers include internationally acclaimed artists Zadok Ben-David (Israel/UK), Chris Booth (NZ) and Sydney artists Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford.  A full day conference, there is also a post-conference networking function. Tickets must be pre-purchased, available via the Sculpture by the Sea website. 

wang shugang sculpture by the sea 2015 'Man On Ball' by Wang Shugang, Sculpture by the Sea 2015. (Photo: Clyde Yee)

Extra Enrichment

This year the Sculpture by the Sea program will include Aqualand Artist Talks, a series of short, free talks with the sculpture artists. The talks will run each weekend between 11am and 3pm in Marks Park and Tamarama. 

To ensure everyone can enjoy Sculpture by the Sea, this year organisers have also introduced Tactile Tours. Guided by Sculpture by the Sea staff and guides from the Art Gallery of NSW, the tours focus on artworks in accessible positions and encourage participants to engage with the artworks. There are also audio guides for vision impaired participants. The Tactile Tours run for one hour  Monday  through Friday, with an evening session on Tuesdays. Bookings are essential. 

sculpture by the sea jorg plickat 'Divided Planet' by Jorg Plickat, Sculpture by the Sea 2015. (Photo: Clyde Yee)

While Sculpture by the Sea Sydney came first, the exhibition has also been running in Cottesloe, Western Australia for 13 years. For those visiting Perth or from Western Australia, the next Cottesloe exhibition will run from 3 – 19 March 2017.