06 May, 2013

Loss of face

Representing the human face in pictorial form has long held a fascination for mankind and some of the oldest depictions of faces can be found in Australia's indigenous art. Examples have been found which are believed to be tens of thousands of years old. I can find next to nothing about any remnant Wathaurong art, so am not able to say whether depiction of human faces was part of their historical artistic culture - or for that matter whether there is any pre-European art associated with the Barwon. (If anyone is able to enlighten me, I would be interested to learn. And for that matter, I have also wondered if there is a creation story associated with our Barwon as there is for the northern river of the same name.)
I have noticed over the last few years however, that modern graffiti and carvings often do involve the depiction of a human - or at least a humanoid - face and that quite a few examples can be found along the Barwon (and in one case, the Moorabool River).

The aliens have landed?

I found the above carving in a eucalypt on the Moorabool near Batesford whilst the two below are "decorating" bridge pylons at Merrawarp Road near Ceres.
Graffiti on the Merrawarp Road Bridge
Graffiti on the Merrawarp Road Bridge

From memory, this rather grumpy-looking face was on a tree not far from the old Albion Woollen Mills in Geelong.
Tree graffiti beside the Barwon
On the other hand, there are also some things in nature which resemble faces - or parts there of. Some trees when they lose branches form a scar which resembles an eye. As the tree matures, this results in in multiple "eyes" on the tree's trunk. The wattle below gave me the idea for this post some time ago.
An "eye" in a wattle tree at Fyansford
And then there are just those odd coincidences of nature:
Found this guy in a sawn off stump in the Brisbane Ranges near Anakie Gorge
The scream? A rock at Anakie Gorge
Then finally, on Saturday afternoon we headed over to Balyang Sanctuary for a short run with the boys and to snap a photo of the bright yellow smiley face with the tag "smile minotomy" which has adorned one of the pylons of Princes Bridge for months (if not years). This was a face which I was sure I'd photographed before but search as I might, I couldn't find the shot. No problem, I would just take a new one...
...but of course, after all that time and just when I wanted a photo, the graffiti police had shown up and the yellow smiley was now a dark grey blob on a light grey, concrete pylon. Typical! I'm not a huge fan of graffiti art and it is by its nature transitory...but surely after all those months....

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