Thursday, 22 January 2015

HIGHER GROUND + SYDNEY BUDDHA






The Sydney Festival always seems to come and go so quickly. It's on over the peak period of the summer season and many times I've missed it all together. However, this year we managed to get along to a few of the events. Inside There Falls I wrote about here was the highlight for us, but there were two other stand-outs, which I wanted to share. You will have to be quick though, as the festival ends January 26.

HIGHER GROUND
At the northern end of Hyde Park - not far from the Archibald Fountain - was the installation Higher Ground by Maser. It is a two-storey structure that plays with geometry and colour on a grand scale. The kids loved it. The design of it meant there were a few surprises along the way. However, the attendants were concerned about children staying close to parents because while there are railings, there had been an incident of a child falling (how far they didn't say) the day before. 

Tips
* All-day parking in the Domain Car Park and the car park under Cook + Philip Park is $10 all day - and you could double-up your visit to the Australian Museum or Art Gallery of NSW.
* Higher Ground is installed right next to the Sydney Festival Village, where you can buy food and drinks, and there's an outdoor library there too.
* The installation is also close to the Archibald Fountain - always popular with children - and on the day we visited a street performer blowing giant bubbles. He is regularly in this location, and this was a lot of fun for the children to see too.
* After visiting Higher Ground but before returning to our car, we played hide and seek in the grounds behind Cook + Philip Park, and picked feathers, which we painted inspired by the colours we had seen at the installation. The children always seem to have fun in this forgotten pocket of the city.

SYDNEY BUDDHA
The scale of Sydney Buddha is what strikes you most when you first see it. The sculpture is 5m tall, and there are two facing parts. The first is an aluminium cast which was used to create the second part - a Buddha formed out of 20 tonnes of incense ash. The children were impressed with the scale of the sculpture, and getting to see the cast up close lead to many questions and explanations about how it was made. The work is by Chinese artist Zhang Huan. I love how these types of artworks can starts conversations about all sorts of topics with young children - what is incense, why it crumbles, who is Buddha...

Tips
* Sydney Buddha is installed at Carriageworks, which is a 10 minute walk from Redfern Station. There is timed on-street parking in the area (no tickets needed).
* On Saturdays from about 8am to 1pm the Eveleigh Farmers Market is held on the adjacent site to the Carriageworks building, and you could double-up your trip and have morning tea or lunch at the markets. Although expect the events to be much busier during this time.
* Catch a lift to the second floor within Carriageworks to get more of an aerial view of the Buddha.
* Inside There Falls is also located in the same building, however, expect to queue, especially on Saturday.

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