Alliance Amongst Adversity, Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2017


Client: Sculpture by the Sea Org

Location: Cottesloe, Australia

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Founding Director

David Handley

Sculpture by the Sea

Design Engineer

Nikki Akbari



Alliance amongst Adversity is a site-specific installation that expresses the necessity of human connection in the face of adversity. Created from recycled timber, the two over life-sized figures are shown installed on the facade of the Cottesloe Beach Hotel as part of the internationally renowned 2017 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.


Alliance amongst Adversity is a site-specific installation that expresses our incredible ability as humans to form complex emotional connections with others. The society in which we live is formed of a body of individuals existing as members of a community. We are required to coexist with a vast range of people in an infinite amount of social constructs throughout our life time. As a result we are subject to both positive and challenging emotional situations that develop our social skills, provide life experiences to learn from and that inform our identities over time.

The classic architectural lines, details and colour of the building itself captured my initial attention to explore the artistic potential of the site. The scale and height of the balcony appealed to my adventurous nature and immediately conjured the graphic visualisation of figures interacting around the architecture, composing a dramatic artwork comprised of pre-existing and introduced elements to transform the building into a stage that could be viewed from below.

Alliance amongst Adversity depicts two figures grasping on to each other while traversing the precarious façade of the building, highlighting the importance of human connection in the face of adversity.


Elyssa Sykes-Smith applied through the official online application process, presenting a concept proposal to the exhibition selection jury. Once offered a position in the exhibition a final location was determined for the work. This process entailed working in collaboration with the exhibition team to plan and install the artwork. A thorough site-visit was required to plan the artwork which included taking photos, videos and measurements of the site, and discussing the limitations regarding fixing elements to the site such, public safety and considerations surrounding potential artwork vandalism. The artwork was pre-fabricated in the artists studio and then delivered to the site. The installation process was treated as a public performance over two days, where the artwork was constructed onsite and suspended from the building facade with a team of installers. Engineering sign off was required. The exhibition was presented to the public for 15 days and received high visitation and positive response from the public, critics and the media.