The success or otherwise of any public artwork has a lot to do with context. In real estate speak, location, location, location.
Unfortunately John Dahlsen’s beautiful work was poorly located in Main Beach Park in the first place. During Artscape Biennial it was in a less busy part of the park where it really did make a strong visual contribution to the landscape, where it was appreciated by many and an obstruction to no-one. Now, it looks like a crane has just dumped it somewhere convenient, close to the kerb, garbage bins and carpark. The $10,000 fence is a bizarre response – an unfortunate interference to the enjoyment of both artwork and site.
The petition is not about the artwork, it’s about its location. May I recommend it is relocated to a quieter and more family-friendly part of the beachfront park, far away from the pub. There is enough going on there already! Two hundred metres east is the camphor sculpture, Theatre of Trees, bequeathed to Byron by Syrian sculptor Usama Alnassar. It enhances the space it occupies, has never been a public risk, has received no negative criticism and continues to engage the public in appropriate playful recreation. John’s important artwork could still do the same.
I would also like to add that Artscape Biennial has not technically folded. We simply await proper funding and support.
Co-curator, Artscape Biennial