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Art to gather people to Manuka

By Kerces 22 February 2007 19

This morning Chief Minister Jon Stanhope unveiled a new public artwork in Manuka.

The privately commissioned work, called “Gather”, is by Brisbane artist Matthew Tobin. He was also involved in the design of the police memorial.

The work was commissioned by the Kador Group, developers of the M Centre on the corner of Flinders Way and Bouganville Street in Manuka. The managing director of the Melbourne-based company, Carolyn Parker, said she believed that “artistic expression is an important element in [the company] fulfilling [its] social duty”.

Mr Tobin said he was inspired by the seedpods of the maple trees around the Manuka shopping area. He said when he initially visited the area, he picked up some of the spiky pods and then imagined that kids like his own would gather the pods and play with them while waiting for their parents. He hopes his sculpture will be embraced by the community over time and eventually become a landmark.

The Chief Minister described the work as “engaging, attracting, attractive and with a touch of whimsy”. He also said he looks forward to a time when all developers will put public art in their new developments.

The government will launch an action statement on public artwork next month, which will include an outline for a plan to encourage more privately commissioned works.

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19 Responses to
Art to gather people to Manuka
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Meconium 11:32 pm 23 Feb 07

Are you sure they’re London Plane trees? I don’t think the Manuka ones look all that much like the ones in the photos… but maybe that’s our climate?!

Good to see the developers are making sufficient $$ from developing ACT land that they can afford $hit like this.

bonfire 9:55 am 23 Feb 07

are there any gidgi ? trees in caberra ? they have them in alice springs, and in spring they smell like sewage.

Ralph 8:29 am 23 Feb 07

I see. Good link.

miz 10:03 pm 22 Feb 07

I thought they are London Plane trees – see pic here

Ralph 8:46 pm 22 Feb 07

I never realised all these years that those ‘itchy balls’ trees were maples.

edlang 5:14 pm 22 Feb 07

I don’t know about the others, but we used to peg those seedpods at just about anything that moved.

bonfire 4:15 pm 22 Feb 07

when i first moved to canberra, manuka had some quirky shops. i recall fondly the fishing tackle/hardware shop, with a the barber shop out back. id get my hair cut, buy some lures and a spanner and be on my way.

when i came back from a posting it was gone – replaced by a badly needed coffee shop.

Thumper 4:08 pm 22 Feb 07

Yep, I too like street art as such.

good stuff. I shall see if I am whimsied next time I pass by.

Although it looks like Stanhopes hedgehog hair.

Ralph 3:40 pm 22 Feb 07


terubo 3:21 pm 22 Feb 07

I believe that Stanhope was attracted to the ‘spiky pods’, which well complement his spiky coiffure.

kimba 3:00 pm 22 Feb 07

Talking about Manuka, has anyone else notice the many empty shops around the little hub, especially in the Manuka Plaza. Manuka Plaza is becoming a ghost-town with even the chemist and newsagent closing. There are not many centres where a chemist and newsagent can’t make a quid.

Even the Post Office which was one of the focal points of Manuka is now hidden in the boondocks of the Plaza with no street access or signage.

Kerces 2:48 pm 22 Feb 07

Oh, I forgot to add the comments of an elderly lady who wanted to know what all the fuss was as she walked home with her shopping. She said to me that they looked like “what the cavemen used to knock women on the head”.

Sammy 2:24 pm 22 Feb 07

I do hope it was the developers wasting money on this

According to the media release, the work was funded by developers.

Meconium 1:05 pm 22 Feb 07

I agree with Ralph – privately commissioned art does no harm, and I like the look of these itchybombs/bommyknockers/maces or whatever they are. I think the bulb above Stanhope’s head looks like dozens of baby birds crying out for food, attention or possibly funding.

I look forward to absorbing this piece’s touch of whimsy next time I’m in Manuka.

Ralph 12:29 pm 22 Feb 07

‘Action statement’, god bless em. I’m all for privately commissioned artwork.

Thumper 12:26 pm 22 Feb 07

Since he got back from India Stanhope has opened more things than man in a door factory.

Ralph 12:25 pm 22 Feb 07

I do hope it was the developers wasting money on this.

bonfire 12:23 pm 22 Feb 07

looks like a pair of maces.

illegal to own in act.

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