It never ceases to amaze me how images trigger new thoughts inside my head.

Having posted my effort for the week I was in the process of admiring the images of other respondents to the challenge when I came  to Ruth E Hendricks site.  The first image caught my attention, the statement ‘Positivity Helps’, written on a wall in chalk.  But it was only when I saw the one of the statue of the Virgin Mary behind the fence that the word ‘Eternity’ lept into my head.

What’s that all about? I hear you say.

Well, the word eternity along with graffiti and urban life can be linked to one man, Arthur Stace.

Arthur Stace wrote the single word ‘Eternity’ in chalk over half a million times, on the streets of Sydney over a 32 year period from 1932 to 1966.

His story is enshrined in Sydney’s folklore.  Born into a dysfunctional family and with no education his early life was spent living on the other side of the law.  A spell in the army during World War II left him partially blind in one eye.

An alcoholic down on his luck and in search of a tea and a bun eventually led him to religion and a sermon by the evangelist John G Ridley.  He was so impressed with the words;

“Eternity, Eternity, I wish I could sound or shout ETERNITY through the streets of Sydney … You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity”?

that he made chalking the word  ‘Eternity’ his life’s work.

The wonderful thing is that he did it anomously.

Today’s anomous street writers use spray cans not chalk and whats more they don’t have anything to say.  They spend their time in the wee hours ‘tagging’ our urban space and vandalizing the environment.

Brisbane, unlike many cities around the world is on top of the problem and it took me a little while to find these illustrations.

On a positive note I’ve included these image of one of the thousand traffic signal boxes that have been painted by the local community (with the blessing of Brisbane Council)

Arthur Stace lives on, in a small way.

It’s a part of life I guess, there are those who contribute to our urban way of living and there are those who debase it.  What do you think?

Sources:
http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/stace_arthur

2 Responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban (Eternity)”

  1. pdjpix

    Great little story. “Eternity” also made it up in lights on the Harbour Bridge in 2000 for New Years’s Eve. I also hate mindless tagging but I must admit I enjoy coming across some of the more elaborate designs- stencils, paste-ups and spray can murals. Usually these are hidden in lanes and backstreets that seem to benefit from the bursts of colour. As for the community painting of signal boxes etc, I’m totally behind it and it’s good to see it here in Sydney too. Regards Peter

    Reply

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