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Sculptures by the Sea 2019
Photograph: Daniel BoudGeraldo Zamproni 'More Than It Seems' at 'Sculpture by the Sea' 2019

Sculpture by the Sea 2020 has been called off (for now)

The news comes along with the announcement of the winners of this year’s artist scholarships

Alannah Maher

Following the news in July that Sculpture by the Sea would be making a promised return this year from October 22 to November 8, it has been announced that the popular annual outdoor exhibition in Bondi has been postponed. 

“Due to current public health orders limiting mass outdoor gatherings, our 2020 event will not be going ahead as planned,” Sculpture by the Sea’s founding director, David Handley, said in a statement released on Sunday, September 27. The organisers are currently working to see if it may be possible to stage the exhibition later this spring, or early next year.

We are continuing to work with the Council and NSW Government agencies, including NSW Health on reviewing all options for an exhibition that will ensure safe attendance,” Handley added.

Even with international borders closed for the foreseeable future, the annual exhibition still attracted entries from more than 400 artists from all over the globe. Around a quarter, from 15 countries, were chosen to be represented in this year's line-up.

“Over 100 Australian and international artists have collectively spent around $1.5 - $1.8 million to create and freight their sculptures from around the world, so it was important to wait and see if there was any chance we could proceed with this year’s exhibition as planned, Handley said. Now, like everyone, we are waiting to see what might be possible, being mindful that everyone’s health comes first.”

The news comes at the same time as the announcement of the winners of the $30,000 Helen Lempriere Scholarships, which are awarded to three artists in partnership with Sculpture by the Sea to foster and promote contemporary Australian sculpture. This year’s winners include senior artist and farmer Stephen King (no, not that Stephen King) from Walcha, NSW, whose work is largely carved from wood. King is just the third artist to join the “double decade club”, meaning that when this year’s exhibition opens, he will have exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea 20 times.

The winner for the mid-career category is Andrew Townsend from Wapengo, NSW, who returns to Sculpture by the Sea for the seventh time with a work created in collaboration with his partner Suzie Bleach. Together the pair create convincingly life-like figures thanks to an understanding of 3D anatomy and body language. Perth-based emerging artist Jina Lee took out the third scholarship. Lee has exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea six times, and her work focuses on simplified organic shapes sculpted into a variety of stones, primarily using marble or granite.

All bets are off as far as when we will be able to witness the works from these artists that the scholarships have supported. Time Out will keep our ears to the wind. 

Wanna see some art elsewhere? Here are the best exhibitions to see in Sydney this month.

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