BERMAGUI’S annual Sculpture on the Edge event has been known to court controversy in the past, but not normally a police bomb scare!
Event organiser Jan Ireland said a sculpture resembling a sea mine washed up on Horseshoe Bay beach is creating more than its share of excitement and consternation among locals, with police even called out this week to inspect it.
Ms Ireland said the attending officer quickly surmised the “mine’s” place among the sculptures and that “concerned citizens” had perhaps overlooked the little bronze bird perched on top of sculptor Stephen Harrison's work, Sea Breeze.
Aside from that misplaced enthusiasm, this year’s Sculpture on the Edge is touted as bigger and better than ever before.
Large sculpture installations currently adorn the picturesque Endeavour Point Headland, Dickinson Park and Horseshoe Bay beach, while an indoor exhibition of smaller sculptures can be viewed in the Bermagui Community Hall.
Ms Ireland said the Bermagui Country Club is also hosting a small exhibition of fascinating “all-singing, all-dancing” Cambodian Moon Festival toys kindly lent by artist Victoria Nelson.
The final event – a community picnic and fire festival on Endeavour Point Headland - will take place on Sunday.
Food will be available from Arincini Bambini and music will be provided by Gypsies from Outer Space.
The quality and diversity of the exhibition is high, including works by nationally and internationally established sculptors as well as emerging local artists.
The annual display brings artists and their supporters from around Australia, and visitors are spoiled for choice with what is on offer - also having the opportunity to participate by voting for the People’s Choice Awards throughout the week.
Ms Ireland said it will be interesting to see what responses this year’s exhibition receives.
History has proved the display to trigger either a variety of either compliments or controversy.
“We have had some quiet years, but then we’ve also had the three-quarter size bronze of [former Prime Minister] John Howard in a WW1 digger’s uniform, and a life-size sculpture of a gorilla on a cross, both of which polarised feelings among those who saw them,” she said.
“We don’t set out to be provocative, but we don’t believe in turning pieces away, so the mix is always quite eclectic and fascinating.
“Our visitors tell us the variety of materials, ideas and approaches ensures a surprising and enjoyable experience.”
Controversy aside, the event’s popularity is always growing and has also launched some careers.
Local surfer Peter “Beatle” Collins exhibited one of his stick waves in the forecourt of the Museum of Sydney and took another wave to the Busan Biennale in Korea, by invitation.
This is the seventh year the exhibition has been running.
It started with one piece of sculpture as part of the annual Bermagui Seaside Fair - which is also running this weeken.
In 2007 there were 19 pieces on display for three days – now it has expanded to a 10-day event featuring a variety of sculptors.