Day 107: Triple treat

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Emblem Roma St kangaroo

THREE new pieces of public art have landed on the streets of Brisbane at Spring Hill, Roma St and Gardens Point.

They’re all quite different but I think my favourite is the giant kangaroo with splashes of bright red and wearing big boots as he strides across a traffic island outside the train station.

It’s called Emblem, a nod to the Australian coat of arms and is by Geoffrey Ricardo.Brisbane public art

He says it is a humorous and playful reimagining inspired by “the peculiar notion of using an animal totem to represent the virtues of a group or culture which is ambivalent towards it” which serves to remind me we are the only nation that eats its national emblem.

Brisbane public art
Emblem, the big kangaroo outside Roma St station

The attached plaque goes on to say: “The intent is to add a layer of playfulness to this icon. Is it a kangaroo? A person in costume? A clown?

“Emblem performs in something of a grand drama, a theatre that we can perhaps identify with, an emblem of what we may think we are.

“She’s a proud figure striding forward with great intent, travelling in a direction to somewhere.”

Emblem is among the trees on a traffic island opposite the station at the corner of Roma and George streets and is a great photo op for  tourists who think we  have kangaroos hopping down our streets.

Down at Spring Hill, it first appeared as though a UFO had landed on the traffic island at the intersection of Turbot, Wickham and Boundary streets.

On closer inspection it is a toppled church dome lying on its side, with the inside of the cupola showing a blue and white pattern of clouds floating across the sky.

It’s called Spinning Top, is by Jarrad Kennedy, and pays homage to the Holy Name Cathedral that was to have been built nearby.

It was the dream of Brisbane Archbishop James Duhig who planned the largest cathedral “to be built anywhere in the world since the 17th century”. (See Day 35 Hitting the Wall).

Brisbane public art
Spinning Top, the Cathedral dome at Spring Hill.

So Spinning Tip sits as a scale model of the building’s proposed 82m high dome that was to go up at what is now Cathedral Place apartments.

I’m not so sure about Reverie I that sits like a curly blob on a plinth straight ahead off the Goodwill Bridge at the entrance to the City Botanic Gardens.

Brisbane public art
Reverie I on its plinth at Gardens Point

It’s by Charles Robb and since it really doesn’t speak to me at all, I’ll leave the explanation to the accompanying plaque:

“The curls of Reverie I are derived from 18th century sculptural portraiture.

“The twisting forms of the highly styled wig known as a periwig were abstracted and inventive, while also bestowing an air of intellectual authority.

“Curls also evoke two aspects of this particular site: the erratic movement of water associated with the complex tidal movements of the Brisbane River, and a state of mental reflection relevant to both the nearby university grounds (where intellectual work takes place) and the riverside pathway (a site for day dreaming).”

The artworks apparently set Brisbane City ratepayers back $353,000 and all are by Melbourne artists which makes me wonder why we aren’t employing local talent, but mine is not to reason why.Brisbane public artBrisbane public art

Brisbane public art

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