In Site Library - Greater Dunedin: Southern Man (Dunedin Airport) (2000)
Southern Man (Dunedin Airport)
Dunedin International Airport- front entry (Sculpture Trail #47a)
Southern Man ......
In his book "The Year of the Horse" the artist Sam Mahon describes the physical and artistic struggles involved in realising this massive bronze statue which is certainly the largest equestrian monument in
The work was commissioned by Speight's Brewery as a millennium gift to the Otago region. It shows a high country musterer on horseback. It is an impressive work, rich in surface texture, which brings remarkable dignity to what, at bottom, is an ad man's fantasy. Hat down over his eyes, his horse steady beneath him, the reins held with one hand, the musterer is slightly twisted to his left, looking behind him. He is, it seems, immersed in his work and at ease with himself and his place in the world.
After this design was modified, and approved by Speight's, the next stage was to make a full-size model. This was built on an armature of steel and covered with cloth, chicken wire, and about a tonne of plaster. The rough outline was finished in a couple of weeks and then carved. The idea was that the horse and man should seem inextricably linked without too much distracting detail. When the client saw the finished model the one change they required was that the saddle bags should be more clearly carved. This was where the company logo was to be displayed.
From this finished model moulds were made. And it was from these that the horse and rider were cast. The final sculpture weighs about 1200 kilos, with the tail alone weighing about seventy kilos. It was made in about fifty different sections and then welded together. This sound very simple. However,
The invention and ingenuity shown by
The statue was unveiled in September 2000, having taken a little over a year to complete.
Text Copyright Richard Dingwall