Art and the River By Cathy Nielson

On Tuesday the 25th of April I packed my roller blades, a scooter, a balance bike, a 6 year old and a 3 year old in the car and headed off to South Brisbane. Out of the car we hopped, put on our helmets and got ready for an Art adventure by the Brisbane River. Well after 100 metres I realised my ambition to roller blade whilst taking in the Art work, taking photos and making sure my 6 and 3 year old stayed on the bike path was not going to work, so off came the blades! The Art and the River Public Art Trail consists of 3 sections, our journey took us along Section A and a small part of Section B. The first Art work we came across was the Biomechanical Pelicans by Christopher Trotter. The pelicans sit on what appears to be a concrete stand rising out of the water. From a distance you would be forgiven for thinking they were pelicans, the shape and form is so accurate. However, upon closer inspection the pelicans almost look forlorn and lost, looking out on what may have once been a bird paradise, but now there is nothing but buildings in the distance. The work appears to be made of structured steel. Upon researching the pelicans I discovered they are made from recycled materials, demonstrating the sustainable nature of Christopher Trotters work. Throughout the rest of this section we view the Man & Matter series which was commissioned as part of the World Expo in 1988. The works are vibrant, colourful and strong. From one angle they blend into the trees and appear almost suspended from the branches and from another they appear to be floating on the water. For me they signify fun and an almost carnival like atmosphere which is exactly what they were created for in 1988. The interesting thing for me is that I have done this walk so many times before but not stopped to think too much about the work and why it was created. I like that even though they were created for one purpose that they have been recommissioned for another and I feel they reflect our city; one that is vibrant, colourful and full of fun. From this I feel the works link our past with the present and look ahead to the future. Furthermore, the works are positioned along a well trodden path, one that has a constant stream of visitors and is packed full of adventurers and showcase our city to locals and tourists alike.

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