Bermagui at cutting edge of sculpture

THE eighth annual Sculpture on the Edge promises some amazing and creative exhibits when it opens in Bermagui on Saturday.

Event manager Jan Ireland said over the next 10 days the local community and visitors will have free access to a unique cultural event spread across several venues.

It also will include a “pop up” show of work by artist Amanda Stuart, featuring a reprisal of “Mongrel Country”, first displayed at the event in 2008.

From the 74 artists taking part in the event, there is a total of 95 exhibits, some containing multiple sculptures.

The artists are from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Yass, Braidwood, Carwoola and Jindabyne as well as locally.

Sculptures will be displayed at Endeavour Point Headland, Shop 1/2 Lamont St, Dickinson Park and Bermagui Community Hall, Bunga St.

An official opening of Sculpture on the Edge will take place at the Bermagui Hall on Saturday at 5.30pm for 6pm. 

Ms Ireland expected some of the artists to be at the opening, providing the public with a chance to meet and talk with the sculptors.

A symposium, entitled Sculpture Songlines, to be held at the Murrah Hall on Sunday at 10am, still has places available for anyone interested in attending.

Speakers are Wendy Teakel, head of ANU’s sculpture school; Hannah Quinlivan who recently graduated dux from the ANU School of Art and won three awards at last year’s Sculpture on the Edge - including the Cox prize; Haeli Van Veen, a Canberra-based artist and 2012 ANU graduate; and Michael Purdy who studied landscape architecture at UNSW Sydney and has been described as a musician in sandstone.

To register for the symposium, complete the form on the event’s website at www.sculpturebermagui.org.au or contact Ms Ireland on 6493 3808.

Lunch and morning tea is provided for the registration fee of $35.

This year a record 17 prizes are on offer for sculptors.

The event continues to enjoy the support of patrons Philip Cox and Janet Hawley, who have again provided a $5000 acquisitive prize.

Bega Valley Shire Council is also offering a $10,000 acquisitive prize over three years.

“This will help to attract a wider group of artists, raise our profile and provide a basis for council’s public art collection,” Ms Ireland said.

“And the ANU is once again providing a three-week residency prize at its Sculpture School.”

For the first time, the Belconnen Arts Centre is offering an exhibition prize and there is a $300 Seaview Beach Houses Children's Choice Award and packer’s prize.

“Thanks go to all the businesses, council and individuals who have donated and sponsored the event,” Ms Ireland said.

“We couldn’t do it without you, and similarly, we couldn’t do it without our trusty band of volunteers and the committee.”

As usual children’s involvement in the event is encouraged, with professional sculptors hosting workshops at Bermagui and Cobargo Public Schools and Little Yuin and Bermagui Pre-schools.

A highlight of the event is the fire festival and community picnic, on March 9 from 6pm at Endeavour Point Headland.

This is a popular family night with music by Quaama band Gypsies from Outer Space.

Food from Arincini Bambini will be on sale or those attending are welcome to bring their own picnic.

Ms Ireland said 7500 people visit Bermagui over the 10 days of Sculpture on the Edge, many of them specifically for the event, and often stay in the area for a period of time.

“These visitors are a different demographic and often have more disposable income.

“From a commercial point of view the event is very good for Bermagui and the local area,” Ms Ireland said.  

Another popular event for the town, the Bermagui Seaside Fair, coincides with Sculpture on the Edge on March 8, attracting even greater numbers to the town.

The packed program features the traditional Bermagui blessing, street parade, sandcastle competition, fireworks spectacular and a variety of entertainment throughout the day.

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