24 December 2023

Public art by the coast to make return as entries open in annual competition

| Claire Sams
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A group of people stand and examine sculptures in the sunlight

Victoria Silk says Sculpture Bermagui has a bigger legacy than simply bringing sculptures to the town. Photo: SCULPTURE Bermugai/Facebook.

A South Coast sculpture event has put the call out for entries from far and wide.

Media officer Victoria Silk said Sculpture Bermagui was a well established event in the South Coast’s art scene.

“We have a really, really enthusiastic community around the event,” she said.

“Since COVID, people are so much more appreciative of local events, local produce – local anything, really.”

The event sees outdoor sculptures placed on display at the Dickinson Point headland, while indoor or smaller sculptures can be seen in the Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club.

In 2024, it will be open to the public from 9 to 17 March.

While entries only opened recently, Ms Silk said the volunteer team was expecting another strong showing of entries for 2024 from established and emerging artists.

“We’ve had conversations with artists who are showing interest and asking all the right questions, including a few international artists,” she said.

“It’s a really nerve-wracking process, because we don’t know exactly how entries are going to shape up until 15 January.

“But it’s all looking very promising.”

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2024 will also see changes to the team organising the competition.

Geoffrey Edwards, a former senior curator of sculpture and glass at the National Gallery of Victoria and the current curatorial advisor to the Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park in Victoria, has come on board as a new judge.

“It’s a very good move to enlist someone like Geoffrey,” Ms Silk said.

“He’s really well known, and he’s seen it all.

“Having him join the event does put us on the map a bit more.”

Victoria Nelson and Nancy Brunton are also taking over as co-curators for the 2024 event.

“You don’t notice curation when you walk into spaces like a gallery or an art event, but someone has had to put that stuff there,” Ms Silk said.

“These objects are sitting out in the elements, but they’ve also got to be in places where they are complemented by the entries around them and are accessible.”

2024 will also include the launch of a new sculpting residency, while the pool of prize money will come in at more than $50,000 across the 13 categories.

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Ms Silk said sculptors of all kinds were invited to apply – and fans of all kinds of art could come to see the entries.

“You don’t get the crowds [seen at events in Sydney], so it is a lot more intimate,” she said.

“The standard of artwork is still amazingly high.

“We do draw a lot of local artists, but we also get international artists and artists that also show at bigger shows.”

Ms Silk said she saw the legacy of the event as supporting the tourism industry in the Bega Valley.

“People are venturing south from Sydney and Wollongong,” she said.

“People are going beyond Batemans Bay and seeing what else the region has to offer.

“There is momentum to build on – Bermagui is a well kept secret, but the cat’s out of the bag.”

Entries for Sculpture Bermagui are open and will close on 15 January 2024, ahead of the event from 9 to 17 March 2024.

Further information on entering is available through the event’s website.

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