Our city figs are as modern and rough as the human residents, with their tattoos, scars, clipped toes, and botched surgeries. Small leaf figs? Hills figs? Indigenous? Skilled migrants? Their names and origins are uncertain, seldom mentioned. Massive, industrial and hardy, they’ve lined up for decades beside factory walls or stood at dull highway intersections where concrete laps their roots. Particular friends are the old couple who stretch their boughs at Salmon Playground in Newtown. I love drawing the rhythms and tones of their pipe organ trunks. I wonder if they were planted in this Aboriginal soil during the colonial days of Camden Villa, a building demolished in 1888? My drawings also grow from a rubble foundation, a collage of discarded work. Nothing we do starts from scratch and each mark is as haphazard and predetermined as it is intentional.
Fig playground 2021 - Janet Kossy