Relic stands at the end of University Avenue, at the beginning of the Australian National University Campus. Winner of the McClelland Sculpture Prize (2007), the artist is an Australian, Rick Amor, who is also a painter and has been an official Australian war artist. The original sculpture of Relic is in the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park in Langwarrin, Victoria. Through ArtsACT, the ACT Government commissioned this version of Relic in 2007.
It’s a very odd looking sculpture, although seemingly much loved by students, as it is often clothed with a hat or a scarf in winter to keep away the Canberra chill. I am not sure whether the empty bottles (in the picture) are a relic of past fun or an artistic statement. I didn’t want to move them for my photo.
Despite this bit of humour, though, when I see it, I am always confronted by the muscularity of the body, the definition and power of the muscle and sinew, and the absent arms. Its shadow is very sinister and the statue towers over you when you get close, marking its spot.
Made in bronze, it matches another large bronze statue, The Dog (2002), located at the National Gallery of Australia. Further information here .
And here’s Tilly pretending to be a dog in a statue.