Feature: An artist's sheltered passion in Canberra

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-23 19:10:24|Editor: mym
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Photos and drawings of bus shelters by artist Trevor Dickinson are on display at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in Canberra, Australia, Oct. 23, 2018. After six years of drawing bus shelters in Canberra, artist Trevor Dickinson finally took his works onto real buses. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)

by Bai Xu, Pan Xiangyue and Zhou Zihan

CANBERRA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- After six years of drawing bus shelters in Canberra, artist Trevor Dickinson finally took his works onto real buses.

On Tuesday, a bus covered with Dickinson's drawings was launched outside the Canberra Museum and Gallery jointly by the museum and Transport Canberra.

"So far, it is good with the bus drivers," said the artist jokingly. "They normally looked at the bus shelters, not driving inside them."

The yellow cylindrical concrete bus shelters, with orange window frame, were designed in 1974 by Canberra architect Clem Cummings.

Over 40 years later, they have become a symbol of Australia's capital, just like the red telephone boxes of London.

About 50 meters away from the bus, an exhibition was on at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, where 53 drawings from Dickinson of bus shelters were on display. The exhibition started on Oct. 6 and will run until Jan. 27, 2019.

Dickinson became obsessed with bus shelters in Canberra six years ago. Since then, he drove around Canberra to take photos of every existing shelter in the street, of which he counted the number as 483.

"Although the shelters all seem the same, they can vary hugely," he said.

Under his painting brush, some of the bus shelters were bathed in the sunlight, some were in dim light at night. Some of them bore graffiti, some even fell down and lay on its side.

"Even the most uninspiring shelter comes to life in the hour before sunrise and sunset, or at night as deep shadows are cast under a street lamp," Dickinson said as foreword for the exhibition.

"They can be found in both rural and urban settings and their surroundings vary with the seasons as leaves fall or blossom grows," he said.

His personally favorite one was a lone bus shelter on the Narrabundah Lane of Symonston, standing amid yellow wild flowers as two birds flying by.

"I love this one because it is very rural. It is a lovely sunny day and it looks like the old days in Canberra where nothing else happened afterwards," he said.

While he went to look for each and every of the bus shelters, Dickinson got to see the city better.

"Apart from the shelters (on my drawing paper) is really a portrait of Canberra," he said. "People who live in the far south probably don't usually go far north and vice versa. So it is a way of drawing the whole of Canberra together from all different perspectives."

Many people in Canberra have their own bus shelter stories, which Dickinson got to learn while viewers of his drawings approached him.

"There were a lot of bus drivers coming along and a lot of stories about people hanging around when they were kids," he said.

There was one who told him that once he was being chased by the police, and he climbed on the top of a bus shelter. "At the top there is a little bit of a recess," said Dickinson. "He climbed on top, lay flat and he could hear the police walking around. So they are good hiding places."

"If these drawings evoke memories and help Canberrans notice and appreciate a distinctive part of their culture, I have done my job," said Dickinson.

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KEY WORDS: Canberra