Dancing by the sea

The first artworks have been installed for the landmark 10th Sculpture by the Sea, which opens at Cottesloe beach on Friday.

The sculpted bodies of Ochre Contemporary Dance Company went through their paces yesterday as artists started digging holes and planting their creations in the sand.

Ochre will mark the opening weekend of the exhibition with a free performance from 6pm on Saturday. The sunset show will present stories of land and sea choreographed by Simon Stewart and Penelope Mullen.

About 220,000 people are expected to see Sculpture by the Sea, which will host works by 74 artists, including 25 from overseas.

A new $50,000 artist prize from Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting leads a sponsorship boost to shore up the future of the event which was first held at Cottesloe in 2005.

Highlights of the 18-day exhibition are expected to include Ken Unsworth's skeleton riding a bike up a telephone pole while carrying a boulder on its back, Argentine artist Leantro Propato's 45m-long suspended rainbow of multicoloured pipes and wires, and American artist Carl Billingsley's Red Center, a 30m-diameter array of red and yellow survey flags.

WA artist Mikaela Castledine has knitted a life-sized rhino from 15km of black plastic raffia as the follow-up to her murder of knitted crows which won the event's major prize last year.

"If I drive out of my driveway in Kalamunda and it got hooked on the gatepost and unravelled, I'd get to the Causeway, I reckon, before it ran out," Castledine joked.

As part of the 10th-year celebrations, Japan's Keizo Ushio and WA's Ron Gomboc will be welcomed into the Decade Club recognising artists who have taken part in the event 10 times.

Sculpture by the Sea runs until March 24.

The West Australian

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