Perth: A city which installs its art gallery on the beach

If you’ve read anything I’ve written about Perth, you will probably have noticed I’m a big fan of Perth beaches. That’s usually because they’re quiet, unspoiled and simply beautiful. But sometimes it’s because they’re bustling and full of fun – like every March when Sculpture by the Sea comes to Cottesloe Beach.
Cottesloe Beach: A normal beach with a few additions


Sculpture by the Sea is an annual contest where both local and international artists are invited to create some kind of sculpture that can be exhibited quite literally on the beach (plus a few spots on the grass above the beach, like this shiny three-headed sculpture on the left). This of course leads to a few logistic and material difficulties because the sculptures need to be able to survive the great outdoors (especially some harsh sun and strong sea breezes) for a couple of weeks. (Unfortunately this year they also needed to survive vandals as one popular sculpture was broken and stolen, despite the security – but they found it and arrested someone, thankfully).

I think it’s a fantastic way to persuade people who might not normally be interested in art that it can be fun and enjoyable to look at. I also love that it’s just there, sitting on the beach, and I especially love that the local regular swimmers just walk around the sculptures to get to the water’s edge and take their daily swim. Although I guess they are not too impressed with all the crowds interrupting their normal activities!

Regular swimmers work around the sculptures

This year I went to Sculpture by the Sea with my little boy and it is therefore no surprise that the big yellow dump truck below – you can’t see it too well, but the back is “melting” into the sand – was a favourite.

But my memorable moment for this year’s Sculpture by the Sea comes from my blogging friend Glennys from The Ponder Room who recently pondered, after seeing some visiting Congolese musicians explore Sculpture by the Sea:

What would they think of our strange little isolated city where it appears we dump our artworks on the sand?

Indeed! Other cities build expensive gallery buildings! Of course, we have them too, but I do rather love the idea of being a city that feels like art belongs on the beach.


  1. So pleased you got to see the exhibition before it was packed away Amanda, your son must have loved it. I’m still giggling about what the musicians must have thought 🙂

    • Yes I was pleased to get there too – I’d been trying to since opening day but life got in the way! Glad I made it. And after all it’s a very child-friendly “art gallery”!

  2. I loved it as well, actually writing a post about it to come out tonight or tomorrow if time permits!

    • Ooh lovely I will look out for your post, Sami! Always interesting to see which sculptures were of most interest to different people.

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