Friday, April 8, 2016

A visit to Canberra, Part 2

Aside from its marvelous museums, my favourite thing about our capital city is the easy, graceful manner in which it cohabits with the natural world; perhaps more so than any major city I’ve ever visited.

The highlights of our daily walks along the banks of Lake Burley Griffin to and from the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery and National Library of Australia were our encounters with some of the locals:

Shane in (top left photo) black swans, moor hens and ducks

A favourite haunt was the NGA Sculpture Garden, a haven of serenity: 

Auguste Rodin, Pierre de Wiessant, Eustache de Saint Pierre, Jean d'Aire and Andrieu d'Andres from
The burghers of Calais, 1985-86, cast 1967-84

One afternoon Shane and I stopped to admire two of Auguste Rodin’s nude studies for the Burghers of Calais, (c 1885-86, bronze, cast by Georges Rudier Foundry Paris, 1974).

Climbing the back of the lefthand figure at a rate of knots was this exquisite caterpillar:

Eagled-eyed Shane was the first to spot an extraordinary sight: a second caterpillar, semi-cocooned inside the mouth of the same figure. It’s a shame we won’t be around for its transformation into a butterfly and its maiden flight - an enchanting sight I’ll only ever get to see in my mind’s eye.

Foreground, centre: Emile Bourdelle, Penelope, 1912 with feathered visitor;
Background: Mark de Suvero, ik ook ('me too') 1971-72

Dadang Christanto, Heads from the North, 2004 (detail) See also image below
Background, centre: Henry Moore, Hill arches, 1973

Only one waterlily was in bloom, but it was a beauty 

Leaf litter

Burt Flugelman, Cones, 1982, stainless steel (detail)

Anthony Gormley, Angel of the North (life-size maquette), 1996, bronze

On the steps of the National Library of Australia (the statue of the monkey to my
left commemorates the Chinese Year of the Monkey). Photo by Shane Jones

Connection to the natural world is reinforced by the above sculpture (foreground): Fire and Water by Judy Watson;
Sound designer: Michael Hewes