…and they blend with the slate floor. So says the Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford, in his justification of the redesign of The Aboriginal Memorial. Well, true, but surely there’s much more to it than that? Loyal readers of Iconophilia will recall that on December 10th last year I published a letter I had written to him two months previously, asking a number of questions about the decision-making and consultative process which had led to the installation of The Aboriginal Memorial in its current guise. This was my original letter:
12th October, 2010
Ron Radford, AM
National Gallery of Australia
GPO Box 1150, Canberra, ACT, 2601
May I ask of you a couple of questions? I’m writing a piece on the new installation of The Aboriginal Memorial, and I would like to be sure I have my facts straight.
1. Whose idea was it, and who approved the introduction of the new material as a groundbase for the Memorial?
2. What was the consultation process with the artists and their heirs, at what stage of the design development, and with whom?
3. Has there been a “singing-in” ceremony, as with all the other relocations and rearrangements, (with the exception, I understand, of St Petersburg)? If so, by whom, and when?
Your reply will be much appreciated
With best wishes
In the four months since this letter, there have been many posts and commentary on Iconophilia, and elsewhere. Now a reply has arrived. I reproduce it in full below. There are so many aspects to his account one scarcely knows where to begin. So, for the time being, I leave it to my readers to decide whether it is a satisfactory account of the processes and decisions that have led to the current manifestation of The Aboriginal Memorial.
P.S.If you’re new to this thread on Iconophilia, type Memorial in the search box at the top of the side bar and press Return to go to the other posts and comments on this topic.
P.P.S. Two months ago I first published my original letter, and in frustration, a hypothetical response, here.