Canberra sculptors not so hidden at Rookwood

Melinda Brouwer’s standing stones, ‘Sentinels.’

OUTDOOR sculpture exhibitions and prizes are all the rage, but none is quite like Rookwood Cemetery’s “Hidden“, now in its 10th year and closing in Sydney on Monday.

Billed as “a sculpture walk unlike any other in the world”, it invites visitors to wander in this “necropolis“– city of the dead – to ponder the big questions.

Pleasing to report, Canberra sculptors have been at the forefront of “Hidden“for some years and 2018 is no exception.

Elizabeth West’s “Portal“

“CityNews“ recently took the walk through the cemetery’s old Victorian burial ground to see just how the sculptures fitted into the milieu, so different from the spectacular clifftop setting of “Sculpture by the Sea”.

Some, like the winning bronze work, Rose Hawker’s “Memorial to the Monument” and Canberra artist Melinda Brouwer’s “Sentinels”, are right in the centre of the monumental tradition, fitting seamlessly among the crumbling gravestones. The organisers of “Hidden” were thrilled to discover that Brower lives in Ainslie, where the Rookwood Mortuary Station was relocated in 1958 to become All Saints Anglican Church.

Others like Elizabeth West’s “Portal“, made from salvaged polycarbonate box strapping and wire rope,  intervened into the landscape.

We spoke to ANU visual arts PhD graduate, photographer Miho Watanabe, as she wandered around her entry of memorial photos set as “gravestones”, “Awareness of Between-ness: Katami once a possession of deceased” – that won the $1000 Elite Funeral Directors Award.

Barak Zelig, “Hidden from Us.”

Canberra’s Barak Zelig garnered prominent newspaper space in Sydney for his sculpture, “Hidden from Us”, a kind of metallic stairway to heaven.

“There’s nothing creepy or morbid about the event, and reveals Rookwood’s historic grounds as a place of beauty and reflection,” curator Cassandra Hard Lawrie, says.

“People are generally intrigued by cemeteries, and over the years we have seen more families walking among the sculptures.”

This year saw an innovation, the inaugural “Flickering Stone” program, a series of short films be screened as part of a global video competition.

“Hidden: A Rookwood Sculpture Walk”, Rookwood Cemetery Village Green, corner of Necropolis Drive and Hawthorne Avenue until October 1. There will be a historical tour day starting at the Rookwood office at 10am, Saturday, September 29.

Miho Watanabe, “Awareness of Between-ness: Katami once a possession of deceased.”

The 2018 winners

$10,000 Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Award: Rose Hawker, “Memorial to the Monument”.

SOPA Artist at the Armory Award: Kenneth Lambert, “Apparition”.

$1,000 Elite Funeral Directors Award: Miho Watanabe, “Awareness of Between-ness: Katami once a possession of deceased”.

Flickering Stone Awards

Winner: Lynn Dennison, “Dress, Sea”.

Highly Commended: Ulvi Haagensen, “The Mourning Sweeper”.

Peacock Gallery “Hidden” Moving Image Award: co-winners, Nancy Liang for “Ticket to Rookwood” and Gillian Kayrooz for “ Surveillance Over Scrutiny”.





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