Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not Exactly Olmec

Public artwork is often surreal, it's meant to provoke thought and discussion as to its meaning, and the city of Sunderland, UK, is fond of its public art. Close to the sea one finds these great stone balls... There are balls on the waterline of the beach within the famous twin breakwaters, some of them hollowed-out and halved, lying like great coconut shells in the icy North Sea. These are part of a circle of six surrounding a picnic table on the riverside walk directly behind the University of Sunderland's St. Peters campus. What they mean is surely up to the beholder, silently evoking the mystery of the great stone balls that lie in the jungles of Central America, in the lands of the ancient Olmec civilization. But to us they make a surreal image, part of the aesthetic vocabulary of culture as surely as the great colourful trapezoids of Adelaide's Festival Plaza. The photograph was a simple one, frame and shoot, on a bitingly cold day in mid-November 2007. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

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