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  • DateSaturday 8 July
  • Time11am
  • RegistrationLink

ANU alumnus Kensuke Todo is currently working on a commissions sculpture for the Hancock Library Courtyard. You are invited to visit him at his studio for a talk on the commission at followed by lunch at Cafe Stepping Stones.

Kensuke Todo’s proposed sculpture will be positioned within the pond in the Hancock Library Courtyard to replace an irreparably damaged sculpture that was effected by the hail storm of 2020. From a platform within the pond, two sets of staircases made in brass will form a diamond configuration, rising outwards in opposite directions before re-joining at the peak of the sculpture.

For the artist, the staircases’ staggered gradient symbolises the teleological concept of progress imagined as a continual interchange between nature and technology. The intertwined shape of the staircase, mirrored in the surface of the pond, recalls the double-helix structure of DNA.

Balanced on each of the landings is a boulder of a different size cast in bronze. Each boulder represents a different stage of life. From the central, uppermost platform, water will trickle down the staircases, around each rock and into the pond.

According to Todo, the water element symbolises the curiosity of the mind and the constant flow of knowledge as we progress through life. This recalls the University’s motto, naturum primum cognoscere rerum – “first to know the nature of things”. The structure of the sculpture, balancing natural and man-made elements, suggests an equilibrium that must be maintained between humankind and the natural environment. The bronze and brass elements of the sculpture are intended to patinate with age, providing eloquent testimony to the passage of time and the attendant notions of progress and change.

Underlying his approach is the Japanese architectural concept of ma, the interval between two or more spatial or temporal events. As Gunter Nitschke explains, this interval is not empirically physical but is a “consciousness of place” which “coupled with subjective experience” elicits an atmosphere of energy that constitutes the binding core of experience. The recurring motif of stairs in Kensuke’s work can be understood as a means of addressing the liminal “between-ness” of ma.

Join us on Saturday morning for a more in-depth chat with Kensuke about this project and his practice.


Café Stepping Stone Canberra is a community-driven vegetarian kitchen located at Strathnairn Arts precinct. Serving refreshed café classics with an emphasis on locally grown produce and striving to connect with other ethical and small businesses.

Strathnairn Arts is located on the western edge of Canberra near the Murrumbidgee River

Meet us in the carpark at 11am at 90 Stockhill Drive, Holt ACT 2615

NO DOGS – The ACT Government does not allow dogs onto Strathanirn Arts Property due to health, safety and environmental reasons. We thank you for leaving your dogs at home. This includes dogs on leads, Guide Dogs are of course accepted.

Image: Marquette in studio of Kensuke Todo

Masks are recommended for this event.

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.