Relay - Public Art

Couple walking Photo: PK Robbins Every day - Relay
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Engraved into the granite steps at Fig Grove is a prose poem entitled Relay. The poem refers to four points in Olympic history:

  • the Olympic Games at Athens in 1896 (red tier)
  • Melbourne in 1956 (yellow tier)
  • Sydney in 2000 (blue tier)
  • and the Games of the future (green tier).

Relay is not a monument, but a celebration of memorable, fleeting instances.

The words of the text generally share their first and last letters, as if a baton is being handed on from one word to the next. Reading the text is like watching a race – the polychromatic design, revealing hidden words inside the words – creates the effect of runners jockeying for position.

Relay is about ordinary moments transfixed in memory; and as different words jostle for attention, it is as if our individually different experiences are being represented. The text on the vertical risers is complemented by thirty ‘graffiti clusters’, exquisitely playful, irrelevant, childlike designs derived from the handwriting of thirty of our most renowned Olympians, including Herb Elliot, Dawn Fraser, Betty Cuthbert and Shane Gould.

The allusion to graffiti acknowledges the simple need we spectators feel to say “I was here”, however fleetingly.

Location: Fig Grove
Artists: Paul Carter and Ruark Lewis

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