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Adelaide Pigs, an Echidna and an Urban Cow

22nd April 2009

Since the Frog van was out of action Rose and I decided not to let this week go totally to waste and boarded the train for Adelaide's Central Business and Shopping District (i.e. the city of Adelaide).

Rose specifically wanted to see the Adelaide Pigs of Rundle Mall that she hadn't had time to see last time. I can't tell you much (* see footnote) about these four bronze pig sculptures (see photo) other than each one was named by different people in 1999 and their names are Horatio (pictured with Rose), Truffles, Oliver (looking in the bin behind rose) and Augusta. The two pigs not pictured, more or less, look like they're walking around, as pigs do.

The four are very popular photo opportunities though I suspect Horatio is probably the star given that he is strategically placed to look like he's interacting with whoever sits on the bench in front of him.

Rundle Mall is essentially the main pedestrian shopping strip in the city of Adelaide. Anyone who comes into Adelaide to shop will usually gravitate towards this part of the city at some point. It's also where any kind of events happen, such as concerts, fashion parades and kids school holiday activities.

Currently most schools are on a two week break so on our visit to the mall we spotted this giant inflatable echidna (see photo right) and a giant inflatable platypus further down the mall.

Both were part of something called the 'Nylon Zoo' a story telling experience created by artist, Evlyn Roth. Kids are invited to dress up in their favorite animal or plant costumes as part of a parade then they can actually go inside the inflatable animals and enjoy a story.

Later that afternoon Rose and I took off to find a gallery called the Urban Cow Studio which, after visiting, I can highly recommend. Especially if you're into contemporary arts by local South Australian artists.

For the most part Urban Cow is a shop stocking hand made arts and crafts by, as I said, local artists. There is much to see and the shop display is spectacular for its range of different art, craft and ideas.

Upstairs they have a smallish room that features changing exhibitions. On our visit Rose and I viewed a combined exhibition of photography called The Elephant in the Room by photographers John Goodridge, Janine Matheson, Harvey Schiller, Paul Tait and Mandi Whitten.

Personally I'm not a big fan of photography as an art medium so I didn't get much from the exhibition. Don't get me wrong. Photography is art and I can be greatly impressed by exceptional photography. I've done my fair share of taking photos (had several years photography training too) and I'm just not that impressed by it as a means of expression.

Moving along we continued our visit to Adelaide with a walk around the South Australian State Art Gallery and the South Australian State Museum.

Both places are worth a visit if you've never been but I'm not going to talk too much about them here. In both cases you're going to be seeing the permanent collections of two very impressive institutions (which will cost you nothing) then you can opt to pay and see whatever touring exhibition/display is currently being featured.

The State Galleries permanent collection of art is well worth looking around. You will not be disappointed. It caters for all tastes in art and features some very famous artists from Australia and around the world. You could easily spend a day here if you really wanted to look at all the art. For an even better experience there are guided tours that will help give even more meaning to the art you're viewing.

In contrast the State Museum whilst equally interesting I did find very hard going to stay interested in. Mostly because they have so much stuff to look at. For example they have an entire floor dedicated to Oceanic tribes which has so many examples of spears, masks, tools, tribal dress and more that you just can't look at it all - even if you wanted to.

It's a similar problem with the Australian Aboriginal display. There's just so much of it that it becomes hard to find things to single out and enjoy. It becomes a bit of a blur.

That said, if you have the time, I'd certainly recommend browsing the museum. Some of the displays are easier to follow and there are plenty of video screens to inform you better about the things you're looking at.

* Footnote (28th April 2009): I just happened to be looking at some of my photos of the pigs and noticed on this photo (right) of Oliver that there is a plaque on the side of the bin crediting the artist.

Turns out the pigs are the creation of artist, Marguerite Derricourt. They were commissioned by the City of Adelaide in 1999 and they are collectively titled 'A Day Out'.

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