Footpath Art

Drain cover, Osaka.We’re on holiday in Japan this week, so this week’s photo post is from one of my personal projects. While it may seem strange that I have a personal project which includes drain covers, I can explain. My interest is in what I describe as footpath art, the art we walk over every day, often without seeing it. It started in Brisbane when after years of walking down Albert Street, I finally noticed the bronze plaques by Brona Keenan that form part of the Albert Street Literary Trail. Having discovered that I’d been walking over art I hadn’t noticed for about 15 years (seriously, they were installed in 1996 and I finally noticed them in 2011). I couldn’t help but start to notice this kind of art all over the place, and being me, to start to take photos of it. Japan has it’s own special variety of footpath art – illustrated drain or manhole covers. These are beautifully detailed designs specific to the local region they’re in. Sometimes they’re painted and sometimes they’re left plain, but they’re always interesting. I even have a coaster on my desk which is a small rubber version of the standard Osaka drain cover that we found last time we were here. So this is the latest edition to my collection. It’s from the Abeno ward of Osaka.

~ Pav