AT THE Billabong lately there has been a bit of talk about gussying-up the front lawn, which some topiary would certainly enhance. As hedges take too long to grow, a shortcut involving ivy on a chickenwire frame is being seriously considered. Several neighbours have won municipal awards for their plantings, and the object would be teach them a lesson in the right way to go about getting real attention. Bunyips are infamously artistic, so there is no shortage of inspiration, nor any fear of criticism should fuddy-duddies find the end result distasteful. As dauber Rodney Pople explains by way of defending his prize-winning picture of Port Arthur mass murderer Martin Bryant, good art “doesn’t pull any punches”. So something like this, perhaps…
One idea, a fashionably transgressive notion, would depict the ivy’d likeness of our current prime minister as the very meaty filling between a leafy Bruce Wilson and a prickly Craig Emerson, perhaps with the subsidiary figure of a trouserless Craig Thomson trussed to a chair. Whether ivy could be trained and trimmed into a work of such subtlety is doubtful – Thomson’s ball-gag and credit card would be very hard to render – so other subjects are also being considered.
Pople did rather well did rather well by depicting an altar boy astride a bishop, a work which earned him more of the accolades arts-industry professionals enjoy bestowing on those whose repute is based on their distance from, and disdain for, the tax-paying philistines who underwrite the galleries in which their works are exhibited. What is the essence of true art, after all, if not the obligation to impress luvvies in the Fairfax press? Well modern, publicly supported Australian art anyway.
So the leading notion at the Billabong is this: a topiary minaret above the image of a homosexual or loose woman being stoned. It’s multicultural, right? It’s brave and daring, right? And surely Christians have been done to death by now. Who could object!
That settles it. The Professor is off to Dimmey’s for a beret and an all-black set of gardening duds. The praise and prizes will start rolling in almost immediately.