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

Tony-Davis-Folly-Interstice-Sculpture-by-the-Sea-Bondi-2022-photo-by-Henrique-FantiSculpture by the Sea and Aqualand has announced regional Western Australian artist, Tony Davis, as the recipient of the $70,000 Aqualand Sculpture Award, for his striking 7-metre-high Jarrah timber and steel sculpture, Folly Interstice, at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi.

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

The Aqualand Sculpture Award is an acquisitive award, recognised as the most generous sculpture award in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most sought-after art awards in the world. ‘Folly Interstice’ will be gifted by Aqualand for permanent public placement in Sydney.

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

“Sculpture by the Sea has been a platform for my sculpture since 2010, inspired by fellow artists and Sculpture by the Sea’s vision. It is especially rewarding because the sculpture Folly Interstice, 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.”

Folly Interstice explores Donald Judd’s assertion, “if it’s not functional, it must be art” – a folly, intimating a compressed space within and complementing a secret place in discourse with the organic language of wood, with all its archives and unread stories.

“We are incredibly proud to continue our support of this iconic event in the Australian arts and culture landscape for the seventh year running. We see great synergy between Aqualand and Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi through the integral correlation between creativity and engaged, vibrant communities, which we are driven to foster through our projects,” said Jin Lin, Managing Director, Aqualand.

“Aqualand is delighted to present the Aqualand Sculpture Award to one very talented artist, and on behalf of Aqualand I would like to congratulate Tony Davis on his beautiful sculpture, Folly Interstice. Tony’s sculpture will be gifted for permanent public display for Sydneysiders and visitors to enjoy for generations to come, with the location to be announced soon,” 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 & Artistic Director, Sculpture by the Sea.

Davis’ work was chosen by this year’s judging panel: 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 regional Western Australian sculptor, art educator, painter and fine wood craftsman. He was one of three inaugural Bendat Family Foundation WA Invited Artists to exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020, where he also entered the Decade Club for artists who have exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe at least 10 times. Folly Interstice is Davis’ eighth work at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and he has exhibited once at Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus – Denmark in 2011.

Davis’ works have 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 City of Bunbury. Davis has worked as a secondary art teacher and head of department in various schools in Western Australia and as a part-time lecturer in drawing and painting at Curtin University.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, one of Australia’s leading cultural events and the world’s largest free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition, features over 100 artworks from Australian and international artists along the spectacular 2km Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk.

As one of Sydney’s favourite and most photographed events, the exhibition attracts approximately 450,000 visitors over the course of 18 days and signals the start of summer in Sydney.

One of the highlights of the 2022 exhibition is a showcase of artworks by sculptors from the Ukraine, which will raise funds for Ukrainian refugees and those displaced by the war. The Ukraine Showcase will feature four sculptures by Dmitriy Grek (Contemplation), Egor Zigura (Colossus Holds Up the World), Nikita Zigura (Global Warming) and Oleksii Zolotariov (Zolotar) (Wind Rose) and is curated by Viktoria Kulikova, Art Director at Abramovych Art Agency, Kyiv.

For the first time, visitors to Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition using the official Sculpture by the Sea App. The GPS enabled app offers a free, interactive way for visitors to easily navigate around the various Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions and discover details about the artworks and the artists who created them.

Content will be available once this year’s exhibition opens. The app gives users the option to “like” an unlimited number of artists’ sculptures, creating a personal shortlist of favourite sculptures ready to be voted for in the popular Allens People’s Choice Award. Visitors can also unlock access to audio tours of 30 sculptures within 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 please consider making a voluntary contribution of $5 on entry, or $10 for families, to help fund the exhibition and to ensure it can continue well into the future.

The entry by voluntary contribution has been embraced by the people of Perth at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe in recent years making a very important contribution to the running costs of the exhibition.

With reduced corporate sponsorship income for the Bondi exhibition, organisers are hoping donations will make up the budget short fall. Donations can be made in person to the Welcome Teams or via the app or online at

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

Image: Tony Davis, Folly Interstice, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2022 – photo by Henrique Fanti