For the record, I learnt today that the decision to …

Comment on Stuart is holding the wrong rifle by Edan Baxter.

For the record, I learnt today that the decision to depict Stuart in his present form was made by the commissioned, not the commissioners. I stand corrected. It is a good thing as far as freedom of expression in art goes but I reserve the right to be disappointed by the final decision to proceed with gun in hand, given the broader context.
I’m not sure if this is helpful information to anyone else who has followed / contributed to the community debate on this matter. For me it has reinforced the importance that some basic protocols and processes are followed around large public art installations of this nature.

Edan Baxter Also Commented

Stuart is holding the wrong rifle
Hi Janet. If you are asking me that question, you could have referred to my earlier comments for my position. To repeat for the third time, the word I have been using is “disappointing”.
(Others, for better or worse, will use terms that suit them. Some may find it “confronting”.)
Yes of course guns were part of every explorer’s kit back in the day. Yes they were very valuable for living off the land and ensured that Stuart and Co made it through Northern Australia alive (i.e. by “defending” themselves against the natives – who clearly considered Stuart an interloper). What is your point?
My point all along has been that this continent has come a long way since that time. Sure, Alice Springs has made a mark with this piece of art, but what type of mark was made?
Anyway, art could be debated into eternity. Perhaps someone else could step forward and debate the merits of gun art with Janet into eternity?
The year is 2014, 154 years on since the meeting of two cultures.

Stuart is holding the wrong rifle
Kelly and John Hagan – I don’t think that many people have an issue with Egan’s craftsmanship as an artist.
Egan’s style is unique and captures a uniquely Territorian aesthetic. Personally, I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next – but hopefully the shape and form of any future commission will be left up to him.
My general understanding is that a lot of the people who are disappointed by the presence of this statue simply believe the whole thing represents a massive missed opportunity.
Was it really the best that Alice Springs, as an arts / cultural capital of Australia, could present of ourselves and to the world, 150 years on since Stuart’s journey?

Recent Comments by Edan Baxter

Is the Stuart statue next?
Guns aside, so many loaded sentences in this letter Hal.
Why are so many contributers to the discussions about this artwork so quick to recast the narrative (past and present) so simplisticly?
Contemporary Central Australia should hold the line and continue to aspire to better story telling about this matter.
Undoubtedly, the Stuart Statue remains arguably one of the most important pieces of public art to be installed in our region – and it is important to remember that those in the community who spoke out in varying degrees of disappointment about the 2010 installation (i.e. originally planned for the town council lawns), were from many different backgrounds and perspectives, and contributed to the public debate about this artwork intelligently and in a dignified manner.
As regards the relevant international developments to which you refer (and Stan Grant’s local contextualization), all I have heard “on cue” are lightweight puff pieces in mainstream media (looking at you NT News) and the usual conservative hyperventilators who more often than not, are missing the point.

Four more years of same-same
So much discombobulation amongst the Alice Springs News commentariat at the moment.
Anyone would think that conservatives lost this election they way most of you are all carrying on.

It’s all in a weekend’s work for nerds
For interested readers there is a full list of all the projects at this url:
Just filter by “NT” or “Alice Springs” or “Darwin”.
If you are a business or organisation interested in furthering the development of any of the protoype concepts, please get in touch with the respective team leaders.

Call for regional ministry in wake of police fiasco
What could the realistic fiscal cost/saving be? A few staff salaries and related costs? Doesn’t make sense!
Let us hope this is an early stuff-up and an apology and corrective response is forthcoming.
Anyway, this surely signals that the new government’s honeymoon period is over.

Skywalk Budget item could be game changer for Alice
Very kind of you to mention me in this visionary (pun intended) piece Erwin – although I could have sworn I told you recently I was keeping a low profile on the politiking front!
Anyway I’ll take a piece of the wild dog bait for the sake of the story.
Whilst I concur with the vibe “it is an exciting time to be a Centralian”, I would encourage voters (in Araluen in particular) to keep an open mind about the promises and commitments (and lack thereof) made during this extended election campaign.
Further, (and I don’t want to rain on this feel-good skywalk story too much), readers should know that whilst digital technology has great potential, you’re still going to need to need to work intelligently with AAPA, Councils, Parks, TOs et al to get things done. Believe it or not they do all actually exist to perform what should / could be a valued function in the governance affairs (and distribution of powers) in the NT. A high quality, high traffic skywalk without signage, protective railings or viewing platforms is not possible otherwise, no matter how good the supporting digital app technology.
Don’t get me wrong I do surely find entertaining the image of Steve Brown, atop Mt Gillen, cutting through a giant piece of red tape. But for me personally I’ll be storing this one in my scrapbook of glossy info-graphics and filing under “Alice Springs News classic hits” for now.
I look forward to learning more about this and other budget allocations (from all parties and other candidates) in coming weeks.

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