Weekly photo challenge: Texture

Judy Watson, an indigenous artist, created this sculpture, Fire and Water.  It’s textural…

Fire and Water, Judy Watson, Reconciliation Place, Canberra
Fire and Water, Judy Watson, Reconciliation Place, Canberra

You’ll find it in Reconciliation Place, Canberra, where there are a number of sculptures by Aboriginal artists.  Since this particular artwork is called Fire and Water, I’d always thought the grey object amid the fiery reeds represented a seal or dugong.  But on closer inspection today, I saw it’s not an animal, but a stone.  A gathering stone.  Muted sounds are constantly playing through small holes all over it, representing bogong moths flying in on their annual migration and people gathering to feast on them.  Michael Hewes designed the sound.

Looking between the two stands of rusty reeds, we see the National Library, one of my favourite haunts.  In this wintry season, the reeds echo the hibernating poplars in the library forecourt.  At the moment I took this photo, two jets in the fountain were working.  That was just luck;  the fountain is not always turned on.  The elements in the photo are a great example of symmetry in this city of many symmetries.

National Library of Australia and "Fire and Water" sculpture by Judy Watson
National Library of Australia and “Fire and Water” sculpture by Judy Watson

Bogong moths pass through Canberra every year in about September.  Last year they were in plague proportions, congregating on many of the national institutions in the parliamentary triangle, and particularly in Parliament House.  At night they’re attracted to the powerfully lit flagpole on top of the House.  We all had moths flying and dying in our homes, which was annoying for those of us who don’t eat them.

Since we’re thinking of texture for this week’s photo challenge, take a look at this image from another Canberra photographer, Donald Hobern, of a bogong with its fluffy head and carpet-like wings.  When they land on tree bark they’re well camouflaged.  But I can tell you, while one individual moth might look beautiful in a close-up, a crowd of brown, fluttering moths resting up in a corner of your room is not attractive.  But thanks to Judy Watson’s sculpture, I learnt that they’re edible, and even delicious, and I was reminded once again that nothing is completely ugly or useless.

Photo of  bogong moth courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Creative Commons
Photo of bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Wikimedia

Take a look at more textures on the WordPress photo challenge page for this week.

Ailsa's photo challenge: Sculpture

For a couple of hours every afternoon in the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia, an artistic mist drifts over a pond, hiding the water and reeds and reflections and ducks and sixty-six sculpted heads.

Heads from the North and duck, Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia
Heads from the North and duck, Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Australia (NGA)

When the mist clears it’s an uncomfortable experience to circle the pond, looking at the heads facing in many directions.

Heads from the North, NGA
Heads from the North, NGA

Dadang Christanto, an Indonesian-born sculptor now living in Australia, created Heads from the North in 2004 as a memorial to an Indonesian military coup in which his father died.

Heads from the North, info
Heads from the North, info

Beside the pond there’s a restaurant in a marquis.  I couldn’t eat there.

Sculpture Garden restaurant, National Gallery of Australia
Sculpture Garden restaurant, NGA

Though I frequent the sculpture garden, I have, until today, always skipped quickly past this pond and over to the sculptures I understand, those I would have in my own garden (if I could), like Rodin’s Burghers of Calais.  But this afternoon I twisted my own arm and stopped to look into the eyes of these drowning men.  Now I see, in a small way, what a task it must have been for Dadang Christanto to create this work of art to honour his father.

Four Heads from the North, NGA
Four Heads from the North, NGA

Ailsa came up with this great theme of Sculpture.  Take a look at her photos here.