Saturday, 24 September 2011


 The construction machinery has all been removed and RISE stands tall and proud on Broadway.  An earlier blog had the details about its design ... and now you can see it from all over the city.
 I will take pictures at different times of the day (and night) to complete my collection ... an inspirational object that certainly draws your eye if you're anywhere near to it.  
 I wanted to get a decent picture of Eliot beside it but ... I had been visiting so was in "good clothes" and still finding it a bit difficult to kneel right down on the ground, so this was the best that I could do
 The bright sunshine (unusual for us) also made the black and white contrast too stark so not the best light for taking pictures.  Here he looks as if the installation has been welded to his head in some kind of decorative hat.
 For some folk it raises all sorts of questions about the allocation of funds and spending so much on something that is "useless" ... to use their word - not mine!
My own reaction is one of admiration ... the concept itself is magnificent .... but also admiration for the workmanship .... the construction of the individual pieces and then bringing them together here is a great engineering feat.
The deeper symbolism is the most striking.  It is a symbol of hope.
A city ... troubled by terrorism ... begins to rise to a new future.
The rising sun ... a new dawn ... not only for the city but for the individual.  Symbols engage with a deep consciousness ... even if in the mind we do not understand, somewhere deep in the soul there is a connection with the message.
It is the same kind of thing that happens in a beautiful church.  It is full of symbol ... sometimes in the architecture of the building, always in the furnishings and art work, and in the holy objects
 If eyes (and hearts) are open then the symbol gives a clear message.
 What about the expenditure and the possible reallocation of the money?  I know little about the allocation of funds in a country ... but I do know that money allocated to one area cannot be put into another one.  I also believe that a city that does not invest in art and beauty is one that will become cold and drab very quickly.  People need beauty ... and beauty comes in many forms.  The money spent on this would go a very small distance in some of the major spending areas (education, health ... ) even if it could have been redistributed.  This will be here for generations ...
Art in all its forms keeps alive our connection with creator God ... the one who said "Let there be light ... " is the one who declared, "Let us make humankind in our image .... "
Men and women with the capacity to create, to bring order from chaos, to design and plan ... all of this comes as gift from God.  If we don't display the evidence of such creative genius to inspire others and to draw people to the source of all beauty then I think we are denying part of who God made us to be.
In every area of life we add unique creative touches.
When a cake is baked and iced .... it would do fine to leave it plain ... but our creative desire is to add something to set it apart as special.
A plain wooden cupboard is functional and perfectly adequate to do the job.  But many a carpenter has carved a design, added inlay and flourishes that turn it into a work of art.
And so with a city.  We could all live in perfectly plain symmetrical boxes with no adornment or character ... but we choose to demonstrate individuality and inspiration in our homes and neighbourhoods.  A street doesn't "need" to be lined with trees ... indeed they are sometimes an inconvenience ... but we do it to create beauty.
So ... art in the city adds something that stirs the hearts of the people who live and work there.  It lifts our spirits from earth to dwell for a moment in the sublime.
RISE helps us to look up (indeed makes us look up) ... and maybe, just maybe for a moment ... think about God ... or hope ... or a new beginning ... a new dawn.

Lord of the boundless curves of space
and time's deep mystery,
to your creative might we trace
all nature's energy.

Science explores your reason's ways,
and faith can this impart
that in the face of Christ our gaze
looks deep within your heart. 

Church Hymnal number 31 (verses 1 and 5)
Albert Frederick Bayly (1901-84)

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