A French group, Le Phun, created a hundred of these sculptures for WOMADelaide.
“The innovative theatre company from Toulouse combines the reality of the everyday with the creative world of the imagination. Their beguiling, ephemeral Leafies (Les Pheuillus) – plant sculptures born from autumn leaves, in human form – will appear and migrate to unexpected places in Botanic Park during the festival, as a reflection on the poetic aspects of nature.”
I didn’t make it to WOMADelaide this year, but soon discovered that the leafies had escaped the Botanic Park and started to show up in unexpected places around the city of Adelaide.
I was startled to see a strange figure at the base of the staircase to the tea rooms in the Adelaide Arcade.
The entrance is sealed with glass plate, hence the reflection of the skylight above.
Looking around the arcade, I soon discovered several Leafies on the walkways above, enjoying the view of shoppers below.
It wasn’t until I left the arcade that I realised I’d walked straight past the most obvious Leafie, sitting in a chair atop a display case, bowing their* violin.
[* as I’m uncertain of the gender of Leafies, I’ll stick with a gender neutral “they” and “their”]
This was the first outcrop (?!) of Leafies I’d found; little did I realise they were spreading throughout the city.
Really, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the leafies: I’d caught sight of a couple atop the Charlesworth building at the entrance to Rundle Mall earlier that week.
Later that day, I wandered through a walkway along the side of the Grenfell Tower, only to discover another branch of the Leafies had settled in the area: some atop poles, some seated, some reading, some playing guitar — a very cultural mob, these leafies.
Little did I suspect the invasion had only just begun. On Friday, may 24th, I wandered through the market on the way to the student strike for climate (a national affair). Lo and behold, there were a few leafies also turning out.
The strike was a very successful event, ending with a march from Parliament House to Victoria Square. I noticed that a few more leafies had come out to celebrate.
A whole lot of leafie kids in the trees
I was wandering back from the east end cinemas when I caught sight of a new group of leafies, nestled atop a building at the eastern end of the mall. They weren’t there the previous week.
And that was all I found in the mall — on that day. As I soon discovered, leafies moved around, acquired items, and started appearing all over the place.
Surely, I thought, this must be all of them. But then I spotted a few more while catching the bus out to the radio station: not only were there new ones on the mall, but a whole slew of them appeared outside the unis on Noprth Terrace!
I took an early morning walk to capture this new lot on film.
First, three atop the iconic Beehive Corner building, home to Haigh’s Chocolates
A little further on, at UniSA, we encountered a parent and child on bicycles
and, most curiously, a trio of joggers on the edge of the UniSA pond
And that, I thought, was it.
I was wrong: several more leafies emerged or moved over the next week or so.
Apparently they are not immobile, they just move around very slowly or at night when noone is looking.
Some changes: one of the balcony leafies got a footie beanie
and one of the joggers raced ahead
Surprisingly, more leafies continued to appear
and, most curious of all, flying out of the Central Market
So, as quietly as they arrived, the leafie invasion departed the city.
Roman is a keen tea drinker, cyclist and radio broadcaster, who spends his time photographing leafies and producing fanzines.