Tuesday, 18 September 2012

On The Neil Dawson Trail

We had a long weekend on the occasion of Malaysia Day. As always, it was a time for reflection, for taking stock and for being in the company of family, friends and loved ones. The weekend was made all the better by the fact that I was invited to a splendiferous Malaysia Day dinner (covered in this blogpost by Ninot Aziz) thanks to the vision and generosity of a particular Monyet King and his lovely family. My better half, Aravind, and I were invited to partake in the festivities by virtue of my having been featured in His Simian Highness' "Cool and Committed Malaysians" series.

One dinner party, one wedding lunch, 6 hours of volunteering and several hours of housework and animal care work later, I decided to proceed with a project I have always wanted to carry out -- to photograph and create a Facebook album of the commissioned works of my favourite sculptor, Neil Dawson, in Kuala Lumpur. And so, accompanied by the ever-obliging Aravind, I traipsed all over KL on that quiet Monday afternoon with a camera in my hand and a song in my heart. To me, Neil Dawson's public artworks are not merely urban icons, but a celebration of beauty, strength, harmony, healing and magic.

Butterflies (1998) Megan Avenue II, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur:

These suspended metal butterflies bring with them a sense of freedom, movement and grace in an unlikely metropolitan setting.

A juxtaposition of the permanence and impenetrability of the office towers behind and flanking the butterflies, and the fragility of the butterflies.

My friend Dylan believes this butterfly to be an artistic representation of the wood nymph, which is said to carry unseen fairies through the jungle canopy. Butterflies are, to me, a symbol of rebirth and metamorphosis.

Vanishing Stairs (1997) Phileo Promenade, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur:

Transparent and unostentatious, Vanishing Stairs hovers above the ground, symbolising, perhaps, our growing ambitions and pursuit of urbanisation, but fading public spaces.

Vanishing Stairs, against the overcast city sky.

Leafsphere (1997) Wisma Rohas Perkasa, Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur:

A magical and delightful fusion of the local (tropical rainforest leaves) and the global (Planet Earth).

Verdant, alive and floating in space with the elegance and weightlessness of a bubble.

Leafsphere could well be an allusion to our disappearing rainforests and indigenous flora.

Interested in finding out more about Neil Dawson and his sculptures? Step right this way: New Zealand Arts Foundation: Neil Dawson.


Pat said...

I remember these sculptures - and they are beautiful. If I am ever near, I'll make it a point to look out for them!

I really love the lacy-winged butterflies. Just beautiful.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for "liking" my photos on Facebook and leaving your nice comments for me everywhere, dear Pat. Yes, do look out for these sculptures. There is so much beauty around us. Public art just adds to that sense of wonder and awe and our appreciation of urban spaces.