A shared win for Ey People’s Choice Prize at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

It’s a shared win with three artists – Mikaela Castledine and Ayad Alqaragholli from Perth, and Marcus Tatton from Tasmania – taking out the EY People’s Choice Prize of $5,000 at this year’s Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe.

With only one vote between the three works, organisers decided to share the prize given voting had been cut short due to the early closure of the exhibition on Thursday 19 March after news that community transmission of COVID-19 began in Perth.

Firstly, Art collective Cool **** deserves a mention for winning the Kids’ Choice Prize of $2,000 for Homer Homer, a 5m high inflatable head combining Homer Simpson and a bust of the Greek philosopher Homer.

Mikaela Castledine, Black Emperors, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020. Photograph: Jessica Wyld

And our winning trio; Castledine’s crocheted polypropylene penguins Black Emperors delighted visitors as they wandered down the groyne at Cottesloe Beach, while Alqaragholli’s figurative bronze work, Anta Omri (You Are All My Life), of two figures kissing won hearts. Tatton’s wood and steel work Viral Escape, conceived last August, of three large viruses that sat upon the white sands of Cottesloe Beach, no doubt had people in deep reflection.

Upon receiving the award, Tatton said, ‘Cottesloe is a stunning contrasting venue for my sculptures from the wilds of Tasmania. Thanks to everyone for receiving Viral Escapade as a metaphor for many of the unknowns in contemporary society. I really look forward to coming back to Perth soon.’

Ayad Alqaragholli, Anta Omri (You Are All My Life), Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020. Photograph: Clyde Yee

Perth artist Castledine said, ‘I love that everyone can have their own conversations with my sculpture, without my being there. Ultimately this is the point of a piece of art, to break free of its origins to exist in the world on its own merits. Thank you to everyone who visited the exhibition and everyone who made it possible.’

Iraqi-Western Australian sculptor Alqaragholli said, ‘I am really, really surprised and excited. This award will give me and the other artists more opportunities for our careers. Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed Sculpture by the Sea and voted for my artwork.’

Marcus Tatton, Viral Escape, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020. Photograph: Clyde Yee

Founding Director David Handley adds, ‘We have had an exhibition in three stages: the excitement of installing, the wonderful public response and an early close for public health reasons. So, we thought it only fair to rule one artist out by one vote from the several thousand cast for the EY People’s Choice Award.  The more people who are happy at this time, the better. Thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and supporting the artists and the exhibition. One way or other we will see you next year!’

This year marks the 16th anniversary of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe – Perth’s largest free to the public event, attracting an estimated 210,000 visitors to explore the art, wandering among the sculptures on Cottesloe Beach at sunset each evening.

Seventy sculptures were on display from a broad range of West Australian and interstate artists, as well as a large gathering of international artists from the USA, Japan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal and Greece.