The Localist

Social + art = Le Petit Bateau

I’ve always dreamt of living in a gallery. So stumbling onto one only a few metres from my home is seriously one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

Le Petit Bateau (“the little boat”) launched in April 2014 and has quickly become a much-loved part of the landscape for many Bondi locals. It’s a garage and backyard space at the rear of a residential building on Bondi Road, kitted out by the lovely Anne-Sophie Ridelaire (AnSo), an art director from Paris, and her fiancé Gaetano Russo (Tano), an Italian boat designer, both of whom live in the building.

Every month Le Petit Bateau (“LPB”) holds exhibitions and events which offer interesting perspectives from local artists. Add to that an eclectic and friendly mix of locals and foreigners, comfy couches, a woodfire oven (pizzaaa!), art workshops, live music and even room to boogie – it’s way more than just a gallery.

“Social + art” is how AnSo describes the venue, which gives emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their work. People from all backgrounds come together to enjoy the space, exchange ideas and be part of a friendly community.

I assumed the name of the gallery came about because of the décor – built using bits and pieces of old boats – but LPB actually reflects AnSo and Tano’s dream of turning a real boat into a gallery. It also reflects the fact that the couple “never know what direction we’re going in next”, says AnSo. That’s why every exhibition is completely different and surprising.

What I love about LPB is that it shatters the myth that Australia, and our beach lifestyle, lacks culture. It also reminds me of the dozens of independent spaces in East London, Paris and Berlin that I miss. But here you’ll experience a warm, welcoming and non-pretentious vibe that not all of those other places have.

What’s on?

Currently showing, until 1 December 2014, is Diana Ucles’ “Reverie”, a vibrant collection of paintings that exposes different and intriguing dimensions to the artist’s character. You’ll never guess what the artist does for a living!

AnSo is passionate about promoting artists with other venues to ensure that their work continues to be exhibited around town. The French Alliance has just finished showing the “UP” photography exhibition by Claire Szepetowski, a French architect and photographer who was awarded a Renzo Piano scholarship to work and study at Piano’s studio in Genova. AnSo is currently in talks with various venues to continue to showcase this and other works.

LPB is also currently collaborating with Mark Sink, a Denver photographer famous for working with Warhol, on the Big Picture Project, a worldwide initiative to collaborate and share photography. LPB is submitting works by local photographers to the project and will exhibit images from the Big Picture Project in March/April 2015.

Sadly, LPB’s landlords have declared that they’re taking the property back sometime in late 2015, so AnSo and Tano are on the lookout for a new home.

Next time you pass by on your way to the beach, pop in – who says culture and the beach don’t go together!

For more info, visit





Images. Photos by Anne-Sophie Ridelaire.


2 Responses to Social + art = Le Petit Bateau

  1. ridelaire says:

    Hi Valeria, I’m Anne-Sophie the director at Le Petit Bateau. I am really sorry to hear your story, this is definitly not the vision of my art space or what I want happening at our exhibitions! I would be happy to invite you for a coffee and listen to your frustrations, its very important to me. Thanks for your response and I hope to meet you soon.


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