Sculpture by the Sea carries the flag of Ukraine as winners are announced

The 18th annual Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea is open, with 70 sculptures from 13 countries displayed in the sand – but it was a giant, uplifting flag in the sky that caught the attention of weekend visitors.

On Sunday, the arts community in WA unfurled an 18m by 12m Ukrainian flag, showcasing its vibrant bands of yellow and blue to people from great distances and great heights.

Perth artist Jarrod Taylor said it had been devastating to watch the conflict caused by the Russian invasion unfold.

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“What is happening to these people in Ukraine is inhumane and should not happen,” he said.

He said the flag marked a sign of solidarity from WA artists and was part of a global movement called Artists Support Ukraine, which aims to draw attention to the crisis.

Before the war, Sculpture by the Sea was in talks to hold an exhibition in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, but as Russian military activity increased, the exhibition was dropped.

David Handley, founding director of Sculpture by the Sea, said it was important for the artistic community to come together and show support for Ukraine.

Mr Handley said the artists had been working on their exhibition despite COVID-induced uncertainty over whether the event would go ahead.

Of this year’s sculptures, 32 are from Western Australia, 23 are international and 15 are interstate.

Japanese artists Osamu and Masako Ohnishi won the Sculpture by the Sea grand prize, Cottesloe Artist Award and $30,000 prize for their work USAGI Shelter.

Camera iconOsamu Ohnishi and Masako Ohnishi won for USAGI Shelter. Credit: Martine Perret/Supplied/Provided

Shelter is an interactive creation in the shape of a rabbit’s head.

The $15,000 WA Sculpture Grant was awarded to local artists Stephanie De Biasi and Carolina Arsenii for Fossil.

The piece was made from cans of cat food and forms a pod-like structure that highlights the packaging waste.

Stephanie De Biasi and Carolina Arsenii won for Fossil.
Camera iconStephanie De Biasi and Carolina Arsenii won for Fossil. Credit: David Dare Parker/David Dare Parker

“This is the 50th Sculpture by the Sea to be held in Australia or Denmark and it’s a big milestone for us,” Mr Handley said.

“Some of the artists who are with us have been involved since 1998 when it was held in Albany.”

Tourism Minister Roger Cook said the popular event featured “many impressive, creative and thought-provoking artists on display”.

“You don’t have to be creative to soak up the high energy and creativity of the show,” Cook said.

“One of the great things about this event is that it’s so accessible and available to people in Western Australia.”

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