Sun, sea, sand and sculpture

Perth-based artist Richard Aitken’s Shimmer 2022 utilises a galvanised bed mattress, timber pole and aluminium fish which wiggle in the breeze which will be on display at Victoria Quay
Perth-based artist Richard Aitken’s Shimmer 2022 utilises a galvanised bed mattress, timber pole and aluminium fish which wiggle in the breeze which will be on display at Victoria Quay

There’s nothing better than a walk along the beach and it’s even better when said beach is lined with artwork.

Fremantle’s Bathers Beach will come alive when Sculpture at Bathers (S@B5) returns for its fifth exhibition from February 19 to March 7.

S@B5 will feature 39 sculptures along the beach, grass and boardwalk, and 26 artworks exhibited nearby at Kidogo Arthouse with satellite exhibitions at Victoria Quay and The Republic of Fremantle. 

The must-see event will be a highlight of the summer arts calendar and includes a public program of educational activities, workshops and artist tours to accompany the free exhibition. Art sales will also be available. 

Artistic director and lead curator, Sandra Murray, said the first exhibition was held in 2013 and it keeps growing in popularity. 

“This is the fifth time we’ve scheduled it and we are looking forward to strong visitation,” she said.

“The fact that we are distinctively Western Australian sets us apart from other exhibitions. That grew out of a need to support our local artists. This event is a focus for them and an important platform to show their work and sell it as well.

“We have 73 artists in total, and they range from young emerging artists, mid-career to established artists. It’s quite a rigorous process to enter the exhibition and this ensures that we have exceptional quality work.”

Perth-based artist, Richard Aitken, whose sculptural practice is inspired by uncovering unusual ways to recycle discarded objects, features in the photo with his work. 

He has a unique ability to visualise artistic opportunities from unwanted materials and fashion them into distinct, creative pieces. 

In his work Richard has endeavoured to follow his organic sense with strong connections to the earth, nature, the country and repurposing. 

His piece Shimmer 2022 will be shown at Victoria Quay in Fremantle Ports. 

Richard says that Shimmer showcases the inventive ways of his artistic thinking in creating sculptures from recycled materials. 

“A mattress is an interesting object found discarded on many property verges. Its winding springs have been a curiosity that has initiated some innovative ideas on how to reuse this redundant consumable. 

“The fish inserted into the mattress springs are designed to wiggle even in the slightest of breezes. 

“This constant movement means the piece consistently changes in the light. Every aspect is unique as the fish independently flash, much like the fish in a bait ball you see in the ocean,” said Richard.

Internationally recognised artist Jon Tarry has fashioned a piece utilising fish and olive oil tins from local providore Kakulas Sister, highlighting Fremantle’s unique global history.

“This piece will be a major focal point. It is in a fantastic location outside the WA Shipwrecks Museum on the grass in the forecourt. So it’s like an entrance statement as you walk towards Bathers Beach and Kidogo Art House, said Sandra.

“Jon has been in all our exhibitions and it’s brilliant that someone who exhibits internationally still really enjoys and relishes showing in this exhibition.

“The selected works are in accord with the cultural landscape and we try to encourage artists from across the state so we do have regional artists represented. We have a couple from near Albany and some from York. We try and make it as broad as possible,” said Sandra.

A new satellite exhibition will be held at the Republic of Fremantle’s urban distillery in Pakenham Street by renowned WA artist Tony Jones, who is also the chair and founder of Sculpture at Bathers. 

This season will see the introduction of S@B5 GLOW, a new night-time illumination experience featuring cutting edge programmed LED lighting installed to activate the sculptures and the beach in the evening.

“It will look stunning; it will truly enliven and enrich the experience of walking along the beach and along the path at night time. It will be like a magical wonderland which will be on every night of the exhibition, it’s a major new addition for us,” said Sandra.

GLOW is sure to surprise and delight visitors of all ages – grab a picnic and enjoy the cool evenings at Bathers Beach.

There are free tours during the day along with torchlight tours in the evening. Two sets of special evening tours include food. One is the Sundowner at 6pm with drinks and canapes and includes one of the artists who is showing in the exhibition guiding people around the exhibition. That’s $25 per head. 

The Gourmet Tour is $70 a head, which includes premium drinks, a decadent seaside seafood barbecue, and attendees are accompanied by an artist as they walk around the exhibition. 

Kid-friendly weekend workshops will be held on the three weekends of the exhibition as well as three artist-led weekend workshops at nearby Artsource which are booking quickly.

“Bathers Beach House is directly next to the event and is open every evening. It is a fantastic spot to enjoy viewing the sculptures and enjoy their friendly hospitality.

“Sculpture at Bathers relies on a lot on volunteers and we welcome anyone who would like to be a part of the event.

“Come down and enjoy the wonderful sunset across the Indian Ocean, it’s quite a unique atmosphere there and a beautiful environment to experience in the evening,” said Sandra.

Sculpture at Bathers is an easy event to access, easy parking, it’s close to public transport and has a friendly family and community orientated atmosphere. It is a Covid safe event. 

To volunteer, book a tour and find out more, visit