Monumental in a small town way: If art reflects attitude, how perceptive are we?

Judith Lovell (Developer), Kathleen Wallace (Developer)

Research output: Non-textual form - including ERA-eligible Creative WorksExhibition


These artworks are responses on a template designed and hand printed by Lovell and Wallace, which depicts four views of the statue of explorer John McDouell Stuart that stands in a public park in Alice Springs.

At the time of the statue’s bequest by the Freemasons to the town council in 2010, the figure of Stuart, gun in hand, was erected and pulled down within 24 hours. In 2013 it was re-erected and remains in a public park. These artworks were made in 2017 through a facilitated process of invitation among a range of the public, including both Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people; art-makers and creatives.

This public engagement and exhibition has been brought together through spontaneous acts of artist and activist citizenry without support from any public art institutions. The content of the exhibition is already controversial within a small sector of the Alice Springs population. We wanted to get beyond that buzz word, ‘controversial’, and think about the ways public art represents some members of society but not others; is embraced by some and abhorred by others. And how policy, the instrument of governments’ regulation of society, either fails of complies with the values of the publics.
As a topic for discussion in relation to public art and public engagement we asked: Whose stories are told, for which intended audiences and how? We hope this public engagement process will contribute to some much needed critical thinking and spark discussion about the role of public art and public engagement with questions of our society in this monumental landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019
EventMonumental in a small town way: If art reflects attitude, then how perceptive are we? - Gap Rd, Alice Springs, Australia
Duration: 12 Jun 201930 Jun 2019


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