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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 796 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Neil's own art made a significant impact on Canberra. He has left an indelible mark on his adopted home, with three seminal artworks and many others. His works certainly remain in the public domain.

Flood Plane, his imposing yet ephemeral work for Floriade in 1990, suggested that Floriade could be more than just a powerful competitor with the Bowral Tulip Festival. Flood Plane comprised an 80-metre long, 6-tonne irrigator, floated on Nerang Pool, and supporting a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon about colonial vision and native fauna. Written in red neon, it read:

In lieu of flowers from your far land

Take wild growth of dreamland

Take weeds for your wreath.

More substantially, The Fourth Pillar in the atrium of the new Magistrates Court will prove to be one of Canberra's most enduring public artworks. This 1997 work, involving a neon text on a 14-metre corrugated iron structure, reminds us of the principles that underlie the law at work. However, it will be his "light on the hill", his powerful 1998 blue and white neon sculpture House Proud that encircles the Playhouse, Canberra's premier performing arts venue across Civic Square from the Assembly, that will ensure that Neil Roberts continues to amuse and inspire us for many years to come.

These are the more recent and the more visible exhibitions of some of his work. His work, as I indicated before, is held by many major public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, the Victorian and Queensland state galleries, and of course the collections at the Canberra Museum and Gallery and the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Neil Roberts won several significant awards and prizes during his artistic career. These included the inaugural ACT Creative Arts Fellowship in 1995, the Daikin Industries prize at the Osaka Triennial, also in 1995, and the Capital Arts Patrons Organisation Fellowship in 2000.

Notwithstanding all those prizes and all that very public work, members of this Assembly would know that we have an even closer connection with the work of Neil Roberts, for on the first floor of this building we have on display the work entitled "An auspicious symbol 6-10 1996-99". This work is drawn from Neil's significant body of work that explores sporting themes and reflects his love of Australian rules football. Then there is a more subtle connection through the reference to House Proud that appears in Robert Boyne's work In the public domain that hangs in the Assembly reception room.

Finally, there is Cameral by Neil's wife, Barbara Campbell, and most members will remember Barbara. This powerful photographic work on the ground floor of this building, which is visible to the passing public, offers symbolic access to the members of the Assembly, past, present and future.

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