Gallery: Hands-on experience as The Guardians make grand entrance

IT didn’t take long for The Guardians  to stir some emotion as they were unveiled outside Warrnambool Art Gallery on Saturday evening.

One lad yelled a few derogatory comments from a passing car as a crowd of about 100 gathered for the official ceremony.

But later there were sets of hands touching the 2.4- metre-tall bronze sculptures,  valued at $100,000, donated to the city.

“There’s been an amazing response,” art gallery director John Cunningham told The Standard yesterday.

“There was an audible gasp as they were unveiled by artist Shona Nunan and donor Professor Barbara van Ernst. 

“The gallery has been packed today and people have been going over to touch the sculptures. Every hand will help oxidise it as the bronze weathers with time.

“For children these sculptures are like big toys.

“This is a beacon and statement of intent for what it planned for the CBD.”

Mr Cunningham hinted The Guardians could be dressed in costume during the forthcoming exhibition of science fiction movie props from December 1 to January 28.

He said there would be more public art installations in the future.

“We have a new five-year strategy to investigate ways of engaging with the community,” he said.

“The Guardians are just a statement of that intent — a sense of what the city could be in 20 years’ time.”

Professor van Ernst, who formerly lived in Warrnambool when working at Deakin University, donated the work in conjunction with Nunan, who discounted her fees.

Warrnambool City Council contributed $12,000 to cover set-up costs. 

It is understood lights will be installed near the sculptures for night illumination.

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