Sunday, 6 October 2013

Skywhimp goes flat

We heard that the Belconnen Arts Centre was hosting Skywhale on 5 October so structured a day around driving to see that first (it was due to be active from 8am to 10am ) and visit a few other artistic sites around Canberra later in the day.  After having set this up I was invited to go orchid hunting but I really wanted to see the 'whale so with great regret we declined the invitation.

On arriving at the Belconnen Town Centre (which is rapidly coming to resemble the Bronx without a zoo (or public transport) we first found a noisy event had taken over the skatepark.

I was a little surprised that we couldn't see an imitation cetacean from this point but proceeded along the bike path to find that the ground outside the Arts Centre had more rubber on it than the dragstrip at EPIC during the burnout competition.
The orange bits in the image below gave a hint: this was Skywhale, and suggested that a Japanese fleet had taken to Lake Ginninderra!  (The owner of the purple sweater in the bottom left gave me a hint (in the form of a back elbow of which the Hulkster would have been proud) that she also wished to frolic in the remnants.)
 Here is the celebration of the event on the Belco Arts Centre website on 6 October.
It is a masterpiece of spin:
  • the plug was pulled, literally on the rubberwear and metaphorically on the event, before 9am (so less than halfway through, rather than 'a little early'); and
  • when we were there the "wind" was no more than a gentle breeze. 
So we went back to where we had parked to check out the flowering ironbarks.

 They were full of Red Wattlebirds ...
 ... and Noisy Friarbirds.
Our next port of call was an exhibition at the National Archives.  This is a 'selection' from the "Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize" for 2013.  I have used quotes around selected as it appears from the catalogue (reproduced on the linked website) that no more than half the entries are included.  Quite a few of those omitted looked more interesting to me than some of those included.  As photography was not allowed inside the event (most, if not all, of the works were for sale) I took shots of the posters for the event.

The Dingo is a painting by Tannya Harricks of one of the dogs from Fraser Island.
 Kate Bergin's "Art of Patience".  The card made a reference to Waiting for Godot (without commenting on how Godot never turns up so patience is not rewarded).
We then wove our way towards Griffith.  En route we noticed signs for an orchid exhibition so swung in for a look.  Judging by the state of the sales benches things had been brisk early on (possibly those lucky enough to see Skywhimp had been inspired to then rush to Forrest with open wallets).
 A big heap of orchids from one of the Regional Societies.
One of my (native) orchid loving friends refers to the very flashy exotics as cabbages.  I suspect the Brassolaeliocattleya is the sort of thing they have in mind.  Apart from a similarity in the opening 5 letters of the names, it was certainly approaching an edible Brassica in dimensions.
The reason for visiting M16 was to see some work by Ann McMahon to whom we had given some willow twigs to assist in the creation of this work.
 Here is some detail.
 There were a couple of similar works in the show - this shot also includes the medium version.
 On, on to Jerrabomberra Wetlands and the Fyshwick poo pits to see if the Eastern Common Tern could be spotted.  It couldn't but with some gymnastics involving a metal gate (which precluded photography) I could see some Whiskered Terns on the poo pond.  Moving over the road to Kelly's Swamp a colourful Australasian Shoveler was taking things in a relaxed manner.
After lunch in Pialligo we swung into Ray Morton Park in Queanbeyan where public art was available, in part to celebrate Queanbeyan's 175th anniversary.  The gates made of historic - or at least old - agricultural equipment were fun and clever.

Morty the snail was the main attraction.  He is about 1.5m high!
The painted poles were also attractive.
The only real damp squib for the day was the failure of the Skywhimp.  Since "risk-averse balloonist" is a major oxymoron, I can only conclude that it is the anal-retentive insurers (let's bung in a tautology for variety) who demand that it can only fly if there is less wind than that caused by a mild vindaloo!

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