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.
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.
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).
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.
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).”