Tony Davis wins prestigious Aqualand award as Sculpture by the Sea returns to Bondi

Sculpture by the Sea and Aqualand have announced that Western Australian regional artist Tony Davis will be the recipient of the $70,000 Aqualand Sculpture Award, for his remarkable 7-metre tall Jarrah wood and steel sculpture , gap of madnessat Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi.

The exhibition, which returns to Sydney and the breathtaking 2km coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama for the first time in three years, was officially opened to the public on Friday October 21, with Davis in attendance to accept the price.

The Aqualand Sculpture Award is an acquisition award, recognized as the most generous sculpture prize in the southern hemisphere and one of the most sought-after art prizes in the world. ‘Folly Interstice’ will be offered by Aqualand for permanent public placement in Sydney.

“This Aqualand Sculpture award is very humbling; I have been an artist all my adult life and this award validates my development and my practice over a long period of time. I have to thank main sponsor Aqualand for their generosity and Sculpture by the Sea for the opportunities and support for sculptors across Australia and around the world,” said Tony Davis.

“Sculpture by the Sea has been a platform for my sculpture since 2010, inspired by other artists and the vision of Sculpture by the Sea. gap of madness, due to the pandemic, has been waiting in the wings for two and a half years and as we emerge I see it in a new light, as a beacon of hope for the future. The sculpture is interactive, and I hope the public will enter its space and engage with its positive energy.

gap of madness explores Donald Judd’s assertion, “if it’s not functional, it must be art” – a madness, intimating a compressed space inside and completing a secret place in dialogue with the organic language of wood, with all its archives and unread stories.

“We are extremely proud to continue our support of this iconic event in the Australian arts and cultural landscape for the seventh consecutive year. We see great synergy between Aqualand and Sculpture by the sea, Bondi thanks to the integral correlation between creativity and engaged and vibrant communities, which we are committed to fostering through our projects,” said Jin Lin, General Manager of Aqualand.

“Aqualand is delighted to present the Aqualand Sculpture Award to a very talented artist, and on behalf of Aqualand I would like to congratulate Tony Davis on his beautiful sculpture, gap of madness. Tony’s sculpture will be offered for permanent public display for Sydneysiders and visitors for generations to come, with the location to be announced shortly,” said Jin Lin.

“Congratulations to Tony, this is a fantastic sculpture that will be hugely popular with visitors to the exhibition and the people of Sydney for many years to come,” said David Handley, Founding CEO and Artistic Director of Sculpture by the Sea.

Davis’ work was chosen by this year’s jury: Terence Maloon – director, Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery and former senior curator; Special Exhibitions, Art Gallery of NSW; and Wendy Teakel – artist, former Head of Sculpture, Australian National University, School of Art and Design.

Tony Davis is a Western Australian regional sculptor, art educator, painter and fine wood craftsman. He was one of the first three guest artists from the Bendat Family Foundation WA to exhibit at Sculpture by the sea, Cottesloe 2020, where he also joined the Decade Club of artists who exhibited at Sculpture by the sea, Cottesloe at least 10 times. gap of madness is Davis’ eighth work to Sculpture by the sea, Bondi and he once exhibited at Sculpture by the sea, Aarhus – Denmark in 2011.

Davis’ works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Western Australia over the past 40 years, with his works held in major public and private collections including Minderoo, Curtin University, the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the town of Bunbury. Davis worked as a secondary art teacher and head of department at various schools in Western Australia and as a part-time lecturer in drawing and painting at Curtin University.

Sculpture by the sea, Bondione of Australia’s premier cultural events and the world’s largest free outdoor sculpture exhibition, showcases over 100 works by Australian and international artists along the spectacular 2km coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama.

As one of Sydney’s favorite and most photographed events, the exhibition attracts around 450,000 visitors over 18 days and marks the start of summer in Sydney.

One of the highlights of the 2022 exhibition is a showcase of artwork by Ukrainian sculptors, which will raise funds for Ukrainian refugees and people displaced by war. The Ukraine Showcase will feature four sculptures by Dmitriy Grek (Contemplation), Egor Zigura (Colosse supports the world), Nikita Zigura (Global warming) and Oleksii Zolotariov (Zolotar) (pink wind) and is curated by Viktoria Kulikova, Artistic Director of Abramovych Art Agency, Kyiv.

For the first time, visitors to Sculpture by the sea, Bondi will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition with the help of the official Application Sculpture by the sea. The GPS-enabled app offers visitors a free, interactive way to easily navigate the various Sculpture by the Sea exhibits and discover details about the artworks and the artists who created them.

The content will be available as soon as this year’s exhibition opens. The app gives users the ability to ‘like’ an unlimited number of artists’ sculptures, creating a personal list of favorite sculptures ready to be voted on for the popular Allens People’s Choice Award. Visitors can also unlock access to audio tours of 30 sculptures in the exhibition.

While the exhibition is free to the public, Sculpture by the Sea is for the first time in Sydney asking all visitors to consider making a voluntary contribution of $5 on entry, or $10 for families, to help fund the exhibition and ensure it can continue long into the future.

Entry by voluntary contribution has been adopted by the inhabitants of Perth in Sculpture by the sea, Cottesloe in recent years by making a very significant contribution to the running costs of the exhibition.

With the reduction in corporate sponsorship revenue for the Bondi exhibit, organizers hope donations will fill the budget gap in the fall. Donations can be made in person to Home Teams or via the app or online at www.sculpturebythesea.com/donate.


Sculpture by the Sea runs until Monday, November 7, 2022. Visitors are encouraged to leave the car at home and take public transport, visit www.transportnsw.info to plan your trip. For more information visit: www.sculpturebythesea.com for more details.

Image: Tony Davis, gap of madnessSculpture by the sea, Bondi 2022 – photo Henrique Fanti

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