Arts & Entertainment

Beachside Beauty

By Rida Babar

With surf and entertainment being at the core of Sydney’s much-loved Bondi, there is no shortage of festivals and art on display this summer.

As the warmer months approach, artists are taking the opportunity to showcase their work in one of the most vibrant areas Sydney has to offer.

The Wonderland Art Festival, named after one of Sydney’s oldest amusement parks is returning for its second year.

The festival, presented by Tamarama Surf Live Saving Club at Tamarama Beach, will run from November 30 to December 6 and will display works from Australia’s best emerging artists, all available for affordable prices.

The festival comes as a relief from the cancellation of Sculptures By The Sea, filling the void that many Sydneysiders will feel as the city recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.

All proceeds from the festival will go towards the funding of the Tamarama Club’s renovation.

Tracy Rockwell, the event director for Wonderland Art Festival, said “Tamarama Park and Beach were the site of Sydney’s first amusement park, which was constructed in 1951 and originally called the Bondi Aquarium. About 1906 it was taken over and renamed Wonderland, which unfortunately went out of business due to World War I.

“Our art festival is named in honour of our unique ancestry, but our artists are free to exhibit their own particular style of art. We don’t nominate a theme, although ‘seascapes’ are appropriate.

“With Sculptures By The Sea postponed, our local community has been culturally starved, so Wonderland Art Festival will be a fantastic opportunity for visitors to view the amazing work of 30 emerging and established artists, and for collectors to directly purchase original works.”

The event will also have COVID-safe guidelines in place, with Tracy saying, “Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club has a registered COVID Safe Plan, which requires all visitors to check-in and adhere to COVID safe policies, and we will be providing hand sanitiser.”

Tracy also spoke on the process for curating works, boasting the inclusivity of the festival in saying, “we didn’t want to restrict the participation of artists exhibiting at the 2nd Annual Wonderland Art Festival in any way, so we’ve had an open door policy, which has resulted in some truly phenomenal Australian art.”

The link between Bondi’s surf and artistic culture is no doubt a strong one, with multiple murals and the infamous graffiti wall at Bondi Beach itself showing its deep artistic roots.

The picturesque seaside provides locals and tourists with the perfect chance to be inspired and create, indicating why it is one of the most popular spots in Sydney for film, television show, and music video production.

The Explore Your Horizons exhibition is another artistic showcase coming to the North Bondi Surf Live Saving Club on November 28 and 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cape Mentelle Winery.

Cape Mentelle has partnered with Aquabumps, a Bondi-based art gallery with a keen focus on seaside life in Bondi and surrounds.

The exhibition, a photographic series with interactive elements will feature Aquabumps’ Eugene Tan’s work at the Margaret River region where Cape Mentelle Wine originates.

The exhibition will have full COVID-19 guidelines in place, including contact tracing, temperature checks, hand sanitiser, and regular cleaning during the event.

A spokesperson from Explore Your Horizons has spoken on what guests can expect from the exhibition, saying “The Cape Mentelle x Aquabumps Explore Your Horizon interactive exhibition featuring ‘lift & learn’ technology and footage captured at the Margaret River winery, will give visitors the opportunity to experience the inspiring Cape Mentelle story, taste its range of exceptional Margaret River wines and enjoy a specially curated photography series captured by Aquabumps.”

The exhibition provides a unique experience, being “designed to bring to life the winery’s rich history, showcasing the people and stories throughout the last 50 years.”

Eugene Tan also commented, saying “I think the relationship between Sydney’s art & entertainment scene and the surf scene is one that’s an extension of both our love for the ocean and being fortunate enough to live and be surrounded by it.

Aussies and Sydney siders in particular love the outdoors and we choose to live a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle which influences both the art scene and how we like to dine and be entertained – it is and will always be our way of life.”

Both festivals appreciate and pay homage to Bondi’s artistic roots and surf subculture, providing the perfect way to kick off summer.

Wonderland Art Festival –

Explore Your Horizons –

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