Travel Theme : Eye to Eye…


A few months ago** (See footnote) when visiting the Brisbane Art Gallery I took a photo of this life-size elephant sculpture. It is rather magnificent, but a bit puzzling. Why is he standing on his head like a giant book end? I checked Google when I got back home…


“More than a million dollars was spent on this single piece of art,  commissioned by an artist who doesn’t live in Queensland or Australia for that  matter.”

Ms Bates insisted her comments about government waste were “not a smear on  the artist or the sculpture” but argued the state funding would have been better  spent helping the Queensland arts sector.

The sculpture was funded by the state government’s art+place Queensland  Public Art Fund and the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.

Parekowhai was one of three  internationally acclaimed artists shortlisted to produce a sculpture to be  located between GOMA and the Brisbane River.

The Queensland Art Gallery argued the proposed sculpture responded to the  cultural and historical significance of Kurilpa Point.

“A life-sized bronze elephant, which on closer inspection is revealed to be a  bookend, is flipped on its head. Its eyes gaze directly into those of a kuril,  the native water rat that gives Kurilpa Point its name,” the gallery  said in a statement to the ABC earlier this year.


On that day I only looked from one point and had not seen the “Kurilpa”. So decided that next time I went to the art gallery I would look at the other side. This weekend I went back to the art gallery


Look what I saw…


A footnote to this story: I did not take my camera, so for the first time I pulled out the IPhone and was very surprised, on an overcast day, at the detail the phone captured. I think I am a convert…

A second footnote: When I checked back I was astonished to find it was three years** since I took the first photo. Unbelievable! Where did that time go…

A third footnote : I am linking this to Ailsa’s (Where’s my backpack) “travel theme” of “close”

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, close, photos, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “Travel Theme : Eye to Eye…

  1. I rather like Tish’s interpretation. Great photos with your phone camera, Pauline. 🙂


  2. A strange sculpture, interesting to see but which attains significance when you understand the background. A lot of Art is like that. Nice shots.


  3. NOW it makes sense! 🙂 🙂 I like it.


  4. It’s a pity that such expensive and non local artwork was chosen, interesting work or not. I do like it very much though. Glad you were able to put your phone to good use. I’m on my first i phone and may revert to Sony next time because their cameras are even better.


    • So much choice in the phone/camera market. Hard to choose. I do like my Cannon camera though it is quite a bit bigger than the phone.


  5. I’m glad you returned to this one PP – and three years has sped by SO fast it is quite scary! I had read about this sculpture on DJ’s site, as I felt the elephant to be rather obscure for Australia, but her explanation puts it in to context. If only it were true. The little man overturning the rich and powerful…


  6. Very cool PP.
    And did you see the chair? Where you can sit and ponder the art? I featured this sculpture in one of my changing seasons posts last year. Here’s what I found out in my research:
    The World Turns: The Elephant, The Kuril (local native water rat) which looks the Elephant in the eye and a Chair. Artist: New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai. It’s a great piece, which draws people in, young and old, to ponder what it means. It is an elephant-shaped bookend that is tipped over. “With warm blessing and consent of traditional Elder Uncle Des Sandy, The World Turns acknowledges the kuril as the caretaker of the site, who upends the elephant with all its cultural and intellectual weight. Visitors may sit on the chair and contemplate the work, with their gaze directed at the kuril.” (QAGOMA website).


  7. That last shot is great, Pauline. I wonder if the artist is really trying to make us think about loss of elephants for the pointless making of expensive ornaments that sit on shelves??


    • I hadn’t thought of that angle Tish but you make a good point. I guess that is what art is meant to do, make us look at the different interpretations.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting story around this sculpture, Pauline…. and you got good results with your iPhone!


  9. Hi p – love the footnotes – and I have so much success with my iPhone it has become my main tool!

    How interesting this is as art – a bookend! And the water rat is interesting – but the entire position of the elephant makes me unsettled – I guess they were going for effect – but it seems like a storm blew by and they have not gotten back – because even as a bookend we would want our elephant righted? Or maybe it indirectly represents the Controversy over this very expensive piece….

    And footnote for me – it feels like three years ago was just here! Oh my oh my!


  10. Really interesting sculpture, glad you found the bush rat…with your IPhone! My IPhone is also great, but it doesn’t seem to produce a great photo if I have zoomed in at all before taking the shot.


  11. Amazing sculpture! WOW!!! ❤️💜💖


  12. Well, it might look better right side up. Sometimes just being different isn’t enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting story behind this somewhat odd presentation. As for iPhones, over half the shots on my blog come from my iPhone and, before that, from my iPad. Thinking about it, probably well over half.



    • Hummm I could be a convert, they are certainly easy to carry around. Your photos are great Janet so a good recommendation for the Iphone.


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