Old Cranbrookian of the Year 2018

Posted: 15 May, 2018

David Handley AM (OC1983)

At the age of 31, David Handley AM founded Sculpture by the Sea in 1997 as a one-day exhibition staffed by volunteers working from his lounge room.

It is now the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world featuring 100 sculptures by artists from around the globe, transforming the 2km of Bondi Beach and the boardwalk to Bronte and surrounding cliff tops and reserves.

The resulting Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition, including its sister events in Perth and Denmark as well as its world renown, was not without challenge in the early days and for many years. David pointed out, “We’ve got the biggest and best-attended sculpture exhibition in the world, and yet we aren’t able to come up with a couple of hundred thousand dollars to cover artists’ freight costs. I regard that as my biggest failure as a producer.”

Now viewed by an estimated 500,000 visitors over 18 days in spring each year, Sculpture by the Sea has expanded to a national footprint across Australia, at Perth’s Cottesloe beach and internationally to the city of Aarhus, Denmark in northern Europe.

David has served on a number of Boards including as a Trustee of the Australian Museum (2002 – 2010) and the USA based International Sculpture Centre (2008 - 2011).

David initiated a community drowning prevention program across Fiji with Shane Gould and her husband Milt Nelms, one of the leading swimming technicians in the world, who simplifies elite swimming techniques to the simple process of flotation.

In 2016’s Australia Day Honours, David was awarded the Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to the visual arts through the promotion of sculpture of, and as a supporter of, and advocate for, artists with a disability.

David, an Old Cranbrookian graduating in 1983, is the Old Cranbrookian of the Year 2018, the School’s Centenary year. Congratulations David.