Wednesday, 2 May 2012

World Within, World Without

At 11am on Tuesday the 16th November 2009 an apology was made by the Prime Minister of Australia to the 'Forgotton Australians', being children with aboriginal parents removed from their families due to the government polcies of the day. 'Sorry Day' was for many people one of those 'where were you when it happened' moments (in my case standing around a computer with work colleagues watching it streaming on the internet).

This idea of the 'moment' has been captured in a work (World Within, World Without, 2010) on the south bank of the Yarra River near the Sandridge Bridge by mosaic artist Helen Bodycomb. It replicates the arrangement of the stars in the sky above at that moment, using subtle mosiac patterning inlayed into a polished stone slab.

From a distance the work seems like a chunky seating platform, with similarities to some visually heavy corporate plaza landscapes from the 1960s. A few steps closer and the reflections on the top surface of teh platform become apparent, bringing to mind a reflective pool of water. A few steps closer again, and the fine patterns and colour of the mosaic work reveal themselves. The highly polished surface of the stone in which they are inlayed makes them appear like flowers floating on still water, and the nearby plaque indicates that wattle flowers were indeed one of the inspirations.

The subtlety of the mosaic strikes a good balance between the happiness and sadness of the moment memorialised, and suits the mood much better than you'd expect from a mosaic work. It seems to have some strong visual connections to the more earthy mosiac work of Glenn Romanis (such as Sites of Significance ,2009/10, in Collingwood).