Out on that hallowed ground I felt my own consciousness go, not into exile or oblivion but into what was round about . . . like McCahon when he was lost in here, I had surrendered my identity, I had, like him, become just another entity among entities: as the trees pulled up moisture from the earth and exhaled it through their leaves into the air, so too did I inhale and exhale, so too did the insects, the birds, the animals, clouds and stars were likewise mortal bodies that expanded and contracted rhythmically for a long or short while then passed away. In 1984, in the palm grove in Sydneys Botanic Gardens, the artist Colin McCahon went missing. He was found by police early next morning in Centennial Park, kilometres away, with no memory of who he was or where he had been. They took him to St Vincents Hospital where he remained, a complete unknown, while a major retrospective exhibition of his paintings opened on the other side of town. In Dark Night, Martin Edmond walks in McCahons footsteps, past pubs and monuments, art galleries and churches, barracks and parks: to accompany him some way into the darkness of his end. Edmonds record of the journey is a brilliant exploration of a city and its denizens, of the nature of art and the foundations of faith, and of the shadowy crossroads where they intersect.
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