Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Two works

One of the white concrete flowers, surrounded
by the native voilets on which it is modelled.

In recent wanderings I've come across two memorial works dedicated to women. The first is a relatively recent installation, the garden of flowers designed by landscape architect Katherine Rekaris as a setting for a memorial cairn (‘In memory of the 70,000 Australian Ex-Servicewomen from the Boer War through to 1985’) located in the grounds of the Shrine of Remembrance. It includes planting, such as a grove of Jacaranda trees which when mature will flower and spread a lovely carpet of purple flowers on the ground in spring. But so that we don't have to wait until then, a grid of white cast concrete flowers (modelled on the native violet) has been scattered around the cairn.

The second work, Great Petition, 2008 by Susan Hewitt and Penelope Lee (a work inspired by the 1891 petition containing around 30,000 signatures calling for equal voting rights for women) has been around a few years longer, but is recent enough for me to remember seeing it being installed and wondering how they were going to keep the skaters and BMXers off it. It turns out that there are a few rubber tyre marks, but it doesn't seem to be easy enough to ride to be a regular hang-out. It does however make a great play thing for younger kids, who can't help but to clamber over and slide down the gently folding curves. It is perhaps one of the great successes of this work that it has such a delicate form, and yet seems to cope very well with the day to day rigours of being used robustly in a public setting.