Saturday, October 5, 2013
Art and About
Sydney is not really renowned for its great art. I think you'd probably rank Melbourne, or even Canberra with its national institutions, higher on a scale of artistic notability. I think Sydney's glitz, and the overwhelming attractions of its Harbour distract from artistic expressions, unless they're the grand crowd-pleasers like New Year fireworks or the Vivid street lighting spectaculars. But from time to time, Sydney does its best. Each Spring, for the last twelve years, the Sydney City Council has organised Art and About, which they describe as 'art in unusual places'. In what I think is a very sydney-like gesture, it brings art to the streets.
I'd seen the banners hanging in my local main street and wondered why they depicted the 'walking man' of pedestrian crossings. Then I noticed there were cities and countries listed on the banners, and finally I looked carefully enough to realise the walking figures were subtly different from each other. As I've made my way around inner Sydney in the last few days I've noticed them on the streets of other Sydney 'villages' - in Darlinghurst and Glebe as well as Redfern - (the City Council likes to refer to inner-Sydney as a 'City of Villages') and most noticeably on the main streets of the city itself.
Here's a small selection:
The man from Grenoble walks jauntily with his scarf floating behind; the scurrying figure from Lima warns you need to hurry across; the outlined figure from Lijiang is tentative and a bit apologetic; the blue (not green) figure from Pucon in Chile is assertive and sure of his space; inexplicably, the person from Rome seems to be wrapped in ropes; and confusingly, the Rio person is an amber/red colour. Mixed messages?
Predictably, this is my favourite:
The woman from Amersfoort, with her pony-tail and high heels, is the only recognisably female figure I've so far seen, though I gather there are others. I wonder if Amersfoort has randomly placed male and female figures throughout their city?
Thank you, Sydney. I'm enjoying your Banner Gallery