28 February 2020

SCULPTURE Bermagui brings spirit, colour and passion to the Far South Coast

| Lisa Herbert
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Coloured Boys by Trevor Dunbar and Dinah Vandermeys

Beautiful Bermagui is the home of flagship event: SCULPTURE Bermagui. Coloured Boys by Trevor Dunbar and Dinah Vandermeys. Photos: Lisa Herbert.

One of the region’s most beloved and spectacular arts events will defy a dreadful summer to light up the Far South Coast for ten days this March.

SCULPTURE Bermagui displays multiple artworks against a backdrop of forests, waterways and stunning headlands in the heart of the Far South Coast. There are also opening night celebrations, indoor exhibitions, artist talks, musical events and art trails to follow under blue skies and sea breezes.

As has happened with many events planned for this season, the SCULPTURE Bermagui committee considered cancelling the 2020 event. The Bermagui community was handed a number of challenges after being battered by bushfires: how to care for those affected, support local businesses, and maintain positivity and hope?

SCULPTURE Bermagui President Paul Payten says, “now is the time to come together, and events like SCULPTURE Bermagui are even more important than ever before.

“We asked the question – do we postpone? And very quickly, we almost unanimously said, ‘no!’ We came through the fires unscathed, so let’s celebrate and give our artists and community something exciting to focus on,” says Payten.

By the end of December, the committee had already received a record number of expressions of interest from artists, and their team of dedicated volunteers has rallied, determined to make the event take place in this special year.

Many local artists and event volunteers have been impacted by the bushfires, and some have been unable to contribute. However, the event brings many visitors to the picturesque seaside village, and this year the committee hopes it will “nurture the soul of the community and help us move forward”.

Sam Anderson's 'Gypsy of the Deep'

Sam Anderson’s 2019 award-winning ‘Gypsy of the Deep’.

From 6 March to 15 March, the indoor and outdoor exhibitions will be on display in their beautiful settings. The Dickinson Headland of Bermagui will be adorned with a collection of stunning works against the backdrop of perfect Sapphire Coast seascapes. The Bermagui Community Centre will contain the smaller, more weather-sensitive works.

There is an opening night celebration from 6:00 pm on 6 March at the Community Centre where all are welcome to mingle and mix with artists and art lovers over a glass of wine and the presentation of awards.

Over the ten days of the exhibition there will be talks and walks, with plenty of people on hand to guide you around the various works, plus the opportunity to vote for your favourite sculpture.

Some of the events taking place on the weekends are the Bermagui Spirit Trail and Silent Auction, a Poetry Meets Sculpture workshop and a Tin Foil workshop on Dickinson Point.

On Sunday evening (7 March) there will be live music at the fabulous Bermagui Beach Hotel featuring Tony Jaggers, and on Saturday (14 March), intimate Artists’ Talks will be held at nearby Mystery Bay.

The Artists’ Talks are a wonderful opportunity to hear three exhibiting artists discuss their work, philosophy and inspiration, with time allocated for questions and to mingle over a light lunch served with a glass of wine.

Speakers for this special event will be local artist Anneke Paijmans, artist and performer Hugh Burrell, and landscape artist and sculptor Michael Purdy, who is “grateful to be a part of something that celebrates originality, experimentation, intuition and the joys of being an old dog learning new tricks”.

The Bermagui Spirit trail follows a little soul that’s the mascot for the 2020 event. Named the ‘Spirit of Bermi’, the sculpture will appear around the headland and village during the event. Visitors can seek and locate all 13 ‘Spirits’, take and post photos with her, and then bid for a favourite ‘Spirit’ in a silent auction.

'Camouflage' by Andy Townsend and Suzie Bleach

‘Camouflage’ by Andy Townsend and Suzie Bleach.

If you’d like to join the sculpture community and support this event financially, consider subscribing to the Friends of SCULPTURE Bermagui group, which supports the event and assists in attracting inspiring artworks from across Australia and beyond.

Funds raised by the Friends of SCULPTURE Bermagui incentive go towards purchasing a work annually, which then forms part of the Bermagui Village public art collection. Becoming a Friend directly contributes to the sustainability of the event, attracting ever higher quality artworks and artists to the region, and the event, each year. There are a number of levels of support to be enjoyed, more information here.

Paul Payten is passionate about his charge, saying “art has a fundamental role in uplifting and enhancing our life experience. We need this now more than ever. Come join us in our celebration of sculpture”.

For details and tickets for the Mystery Bay Artists’ Talks, as well as full program details, visit SCULPTURE Bermagui.

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