Category Archives: Sculpture

Sculpture of Father and Son Embrace in Canberra

When I was in Canberra this year, I saw a sculpture in Garema Place of a man and a boy.  I felt concerned about the embrace.  I’ve just found out now that it was presented by Alexander Downer as a tribute to his father.  

Images of Canberra – Civic public art walking tour Episode 28, Father and Son

Images of Canberra – Civic public art walking tour Episode 28, Father and Son

johnboy  24 May 2006 6

 
 

On Saturday 08-APR-06 we did the Civic Public Art Walking Tour and lived to tell the tale.

And so, I present to you item # 28, Father and Son, by John Downie. It’s in Garema Place

Father and Son - by John Downie

The guide says:

This artwork was presented to the people
of Canberra by the Hon. Alex Downer in
memory of his father Sir John Downer.
Originally installed in 1964, Father and Son
was restored and relocated in Garema
Place with a new marble base in 1986.

It’s worth noting that the “Hon. Alex Downer” was Sir “Alec” Downer, the father of the current Minister for Foreign affairs. Sir John is the Downer the inner-north suburb is named after.

the National Library published the following:

DOWNER STATUE
 
 
This is the Downer Memorial Statue – two nude male figures representing father and son. It was placed in position on top of the Garema Place fountain yesterday.
 
This is the Downer Memorial Statue – two nude male figures representing father and son. It was placed in position on top of the Garema Place fountain yesterday.
 
The sculptor is Mr. John Dowie, of Adelaide.
 
The father figure holds a Roman chalice or cup, which represents the ex-
ample towards which the boy is encouraged to strive.
Mr. Dowie says the symbolism is threefold. On one side of the cup
is depicted Christ’s agony in the garden of Gethse- mane, His receiving of
the cup being the supreme example of duty fulfilled regardless of cost.
On the opposite side of the cup, Victory is depic-ted giving a cup to an
athlete as a reward for successful endeavour.
The third point of the symbolism is the water of the fountain gushing from
the cup, recalling the psalmist’s words “My cup runneth over” — in
structing the boy to feel gratitude for the good things which come to him
unsought.