Though yesterday evening the beach was crowded with people getting a sneak preview in golden light, today was the official opening of the annual Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe exhibition. On a relatively short stretch of beach and grassy foreshore, 69 works by local and international artists include three by New Zealanders, two of whom live on Waiheke Island. And one of them, Virginia King, I was able to tell last night that I voted for her work in the People's Choice at last month's Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition. (Strenuously resisting the 'small world' cliché here.)
There was an unexpected rendition at the opening of Waltzing Matilda by the WA Police Pipe Band, and a more appropriate Welcome to Country by a local indigenous representative in a roo skin cloak (which actually turned out to be unexpected because it was the first time in 11 years that they'd done it. No comment.) Speeches followed, people and organisations thanked, and then it was back to what it was all about: people strolling about, considering the works, and generally enjoying themselves.
And who wouldn't, on a sparkling hot morning under a cloudless sky, the sea turquoise, everyone relaxed (apart from the teachers herding their classes round the exhibits)? There were red mesh flamingos, shiny metal balls, bouncy rubber balls, black Chinese men balanced on balls, Virginia's laser-cut disc, huge barcode-faced babies, stone shapes, wooden shapes, glass and bamboo and plastic. Big and small, lovely and sinister, inscrutable and silly - you know, art.
And again, as on Waiheke, marvellous though most of the art was, it was no match for the glorious setting of this beautiful beach. Another win for nature.