Catch a glimpse of another era
Decades-old art has been uncovered and restored for display at Bondi Pavilion alongside contemporary works. From mosaics and murals from Bondi’s past to new works from contemporary artists, this is landmark Australian art in the heart of Bondi.
During the restoration of the building decades-old art has been uncovered and restored for visitors to experience the Pavilion’s storied past and its connection to the stories that shape today. These works offer insight into the many dimensions of the Pav and the communities that brought it to life over the years. They are a bridge between past and present. You are invited to engage with a historical expression of visual art at the Pav.
Dhurritjiui Terry Yumbulul is an Indigenous artist from Galiwin’ku. In 1983 while exhibiting at the Bondi Pavilion Gallery he designed the floor mosaics for the building. These mosaics are among the first Indigenous paintings translated into a ceramic medium. The larger mosaic design is based on the dreaming of the creation of land and sea while the smaller piece expresses the need for harmony and caring between all living things. Yumbulul rose to prominence with bark pole paintings and in 1983 he was the first Indigenous artist to have work animated for television.
Terry collaborated with local artists Lloyd Kelemen and Justin Robson to create the mosaic.
Bondi the Beautiful Mural
In 1980, Waverley Council commissioned Public Art Squad team members Rodney Monk, David Humphries, Wayne Hutchings and Kristine Ammitzboll to create an iconic mural in the courtyard of Bondi Pavilion’s community and cultural centre. The team worked with community members to develop ideas for images from Bondi’s history and over many weeks of collaboration the artwork took on a life of its own. Using the theme ‘Bondi the Beautiful’, the team members and community participants painted the courtyard’s northern wall with bold, 1920s-inspired images of rugged lifesavers, bathing beauties, local characters, sun-soaked buildings, and carefree birds and dolphins. This 625-square metre wall of pure artistic joy became one of Australia’s most photographed murals.
Local sculptor Diana Webber, who was actively involved in surf culture through her six sons, created the bronze surf lifesaver and dolphin monuments that stand beside the Pavilion. These commissions were a part of the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations and were designed to acknowledge the achievements and heroism of surf life savers in Australia. Diana made bronze trophies for surfing contests and a life-size statue of legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku for a local surf shop. While Diana was visiting Manly Aquarium to research the dolphin sculpture, a mother dolphin nudged her calf towards Diana, providing a joyous opportunity to study its anatomy. She remained a keen artist and sculptor, holding many exhibitions across multiple media.
Very little is known about these three murals, but they give us an insight into the Bondi Pavilion’s former days as a ballroom. While one mural was always on view at the rear of the Bondi Pavilion theatre, during the 2020- 2022 Bondi Pavilion restoration, two further murals were uncovered. The three works were lovingly restored as a part of those major works.