Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Just outside the Marriott Hotel at 515 Queen Street is the sculpture known as Gifts. It shows what I believe to be a young aboriginal boy at play with birds overhead and at his feet. Sculpted by Rhyl Hinwood, it was commissioned in 1998 as a fountain work. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing drought and water restrictions, the fountain area has been re-potted with native plants. However, I feel the aesthetic of the sculpture has not been lost.

Rhyl Hinwood is quite a prolific sculptor, with international renown and a significant number of artworks around Brisbane. She also must have a keen sense of humour, as evidenced by the plaque associated with this sculpture. I thought it best that I transcribe this for reference here!

'I will bring you love', said the young lover,
'A glad light to dance in your dark eye.
Pendants I will bring of the white bone,
And gay parrot feathers to deck your hair.'

But she only shook her head.

'I will put a child in your arms,' he said,
'Will be a great headman, great rain-maker,
I will make remembered songs about you
That all the tribes in all the wandering camps
Will sing for ever.'

But she was not impressed.

'I will bring you the still moonlight on the lagoon,
And steal for you the singing of all the birds;
I will bring down the stars of heaven to you,
And put the bright rainbow in your hand.'

'No,' she said, 'Bring me tree grubs.'
Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonucal

How appropriate that on Valentine's Day I can share this with you.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Jodi said...

That poem cracks me up. That sculpture is very very good. Is that red on him supposed to represent blood from the bird? EWWWW.

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear Wes. You really amaze me - I can't believe you find out all this stuff! I'm loving it.

h&b said...

ahh - they were unsuited ;)

But then, that's what life is about, right ? Poets finding love with the rougher sort, and vice-versa. Marrying below rank, marrying above rank .. infuriating one's parents, delighting others...