Outdoor Art Highlights

Trail curated by: The Adelaide City Explorer Team

From the first controversial installation of a public artwork in Adelaide in 1892 to those that caused people to ask “What is art?” more than 100 years later, this trail visits the monuments, murals and sculptures gracing our city spaces.

Locations for Trail

Talking our way home, by noted Adelaide artist Shaun Kirby, is an installation of five glass and steel boats on the River Torrens. The origami-like boats appear translucent and fragile. It suggests movement and transport, and the idea of a…

This new memorial honours the bravery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders during wartime. The first such memorial, it was unveiled in 2013. It recognises a part of war history that until recently has been largely ignored.Indigenous Australians…

This garden and its sculpture form a meaningful and peaceful art installation. The Pioneer Women’s Memorial Trust was set up in 1935. It was given this space behind Government House for a site to honour South Australian women pioneers. The garden…

This is one of the most controversial artworks in the Adelaide Festival Centre precinct. A colourful, geometric and interactive installation, it adorns the plaza at the Festival Centre’s southern entrance. The space is commonly known as Hajek’s…

Roy Rene was a great Australian vaudeville performer and radio broadcaster. Born Henry van der Sluys in 1891, he grew up in Adelaide in a family of nine. His Jewish Dutch migrant father worked as a cigar maker on Hindley Street. Rene won a singing…

The four charismatic and charming pigs that appear to roam Rundle Mall are a favourite with both children and adults. They provide their admirers with rides, hugs and even a place to sit. The pigs seem indifferent to their celebrity as they enjoy a…

Venere di Canova, or Venus as she is known, was the first public artwork to be erected in the city. It is a direct copy of a work by the 18th-century Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. (The title Venere di Canova means “Canova’s Venus”). The…

A city memorial to those who fought in the First World War was first discussed in 1919. Architecture firm Woods, Bagot, Jory and Laybourne Smith won a competition with their design, The Spirit of Sacrifice. The firm worked with Sydney sculptor Rayner…

This statue of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns is evidence of South Australia’s strong ties to Scotland. As early as 1838, Scottish migrants in South Australia were meeting and in 1881 they founded the Caledonian Society of South…

The noted Adelaide artist and sculptor Dr. John Dowie AM is immortalised in this statue by John Woffinden. Dowie’s sculptures are found throughout South Australia and the world, from Windsor Castle to the University of Papua New Guinea in Port…

14 Pieces is a collaboration between two artists, husband and wife Hossein and Angela Valamanesh. It was commissioned by the Adelaide City Council and stands where the former fountain honouring Sir John Lavington Bonython once was. The work’s…

American artist Donald Judd’s installation Untitled is a clear example of the challenging nature of much contemporary art. A grey, discoloured mould of a triangle in reinforced concrete, it is stark, bold and minimalist. It was commissioned by the…

This modern abstract work is by renowned British artist Henry Moore, one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. This is one of his few pieces in Australia. Moore’s sculptures are often of abstract, organic and interconnected figures. Many…

Along with the bronze pigs, Burt Flugelman’s sculpture Spheres is the other landmark of Rundle Mall. The Hindmarsh Building Society donated it in 1977 to the City of Adelaide to mark the society’s centenary. Since then it has become an Adelaide…

This mural is the result of four artists, 14 years and one controversial art movement. It first came to life in 1984 through the work of artists Carol Ruff and Barbary O’Brien. The scene showed an old man and a child on a bicycle, expressing the…

Apron by South Australian artist Karen Genoff is a tribute to the markets that were once such an important part of Adelaide’s East End. The installation was commissioned by the State Government and it was installed in 1997. The sculpture’s focal…

This playful sculpture depicts the heroine of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Characters from both books, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Duchess and the Gryphon,…
comments powered by Disqus