Oh dear, our sculpture is finished. It’s awful. Really, really awful. I’ve had a look at it from lots of angles and I can’t find one that works. Every part of it is wrong.
The form just doesn’t work. It’s a cage. We could lock in it people who reverse over double lines to steal your park. Or people who don’t use keep cups. Or perhaps it’s a metal version of a wicker man for the creepy dudes who wank at Tyagarah Beach. We could burn them once a month. It’s a bloody shame.
The fact that the sculpture didn’t work has made people very anti public art. It should never be public art versus potholes. We should have public art AND our potholes filled. Albeit on this occasion we could probably use the metal to backfill a few of our larger road cankers.
I was happy when the sculpture was a dick. I love dicks. Lots of people love dicks. Every second person has one. Every third person is one. We could have got away with a big dick, but the dilapidated Xmas tree? The aluminium foil razor wire?
It looks cheap and nasty. Like it came from a discount store. And dangerous. I don’t think anyone will be meditating in the middle of that roundabout. Cheesecloth-wearing hitchers may end up accidentally becoming stuck to it in a high wind. Birds will probably meet their death on the iron bird sculpture: literal irony.
It looks nothing like a lighthouse, more like a monument to glorify self-harm. Sorry to the anti-vaxers – we might need to deliver tetanus shots at the Ewingsdale roundabout.
There has been much talk on social media about the sculpture, and people have got pretty heated and some extraordinarily nasty about it. I don’t think there’s any call to abuse anyone; I think it’s a mistake. People make them all the time. No-one would have commissioned the thing that sits on the roundabout if they KNEW that was what it was going to look like.
We need to practise our best letting go right now. We need to breathe. And we need to face the truth. It’s fucking awful. I feel terrible saying that. I know how sensitive creative people are. I am a creative person. I know that sinking feeling when you’re halfway through something and you know it’s shit. I reckon the artist for the Byron sculpture thing must have felt like that.
I reckon the councillors probably felt like that too. They’re being blamed for buying the shit. Clearly they didn’t think it was shit when they bought it. Everyone wanted it to be amazing. It felt like it WAS going to be amazing. I saw the work on paper – as a concept I can see the appeal. The fragile pencil strokes. The delicate suggestion of iconic architecture through the relief of nature. A negative space sculpture. Well I guess it did achieve the negative space thing. It has created a shitload of negative space! If you know much about sculpture you would know how difficult it is to realise those fine pencil lines in sculptural form without it becoming a jagged heap of shiny scrap metal. Which sadly it is.
I am an artist. I know what it’s like to have to make something that someone has asked you to make. It’s always really challenging because you kind of lose your mojo because you’re not making if for the ‘art’, you’re making it for the ‘money’. Our sculpture was an idea on paper that when realised didn’t work.
I think most artworks are better when they are created with passion and inspiration and then purchased later. Not purchased first and then created. I’m all for public art, and all for people having different ideas about art. But when something’s shit, it’s shit.
Not everyone loves Picasso’s Weeping Woman. But it is without a doubt an important and incredible painting. Our sculpture is not a Weeping Woman. It’s a creeping catastrophe. So what are we going to do about it? Grow vines? Wrap it up like a Christo? Use it as a trellis for some banging tomatoes? Grow some weed in it?
Maybe we need to spend some proper cash. This will shock the more frugal, but in the art world, $52k is not really enough for public art of that size and with such high social impact. I think in trying to be modest with the spend, in trying to be inclusive with a ‘competition’, Council have perhaps come undone.
Art purchase needs to be extravagant. It needs to be bold. You need to get drunk and spend the entire pothole budget for five years! (The whole $300!)
Oh – here is an idea… maybe all the Airbnb landlords, those who profit by not paying rates or operating fees of regulated accommodation providers, maybe THEY could throw in $10k each – there’s just over 6,000 of them. So that would be $60 million bucks.
I reckon we could have world-class sculpture AND our potholes filled. With gold. Oh, and while we’re at it – could we have something that tells the Arakwal story this time? Not the colonial one?