by Marian Quigley
(Audrey Buttigieg Cardona)
To mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2020, the RCH Foundation, supported by Wild in Art, devised a public art trail featuring sculptures by 100 selected Victorian artists. Each artist designed a UooUoo sculpture to be included in the laneways, streets, parks and public places of Melbourne and Geelong. Each sculpture is sponsored by a business and will be on display from 20 January until 21 March 2021. They will then be auctioned to raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The mythical creature UooUoo was created by Melbourne artist Alexander Knox whose 14 metre- high sculpture ‘Creature’ is a fixture in the hospital’s main foyer. He explains that his concept for UooUoo is based on his observation of the ‘incredibly brave kids and families’ at the hospital and so imagined ‘a highly empathetic creature who is playful and brave’.
A number of MAVA artists were selected for this project. They were provided with a 1350mm high, 1570mm wide fibreglass UooUoo sculpture and given the choice to collect and deliver these themselves so they could work on them in their own studios - or alternatively, they could work on them in one of the three warehouses that were provided. It was stipulated that they had to work from their original proposals without changing them and the paint that they used had to be exterior grade. They were each paid $1500 which they used to purchase their own materials.
Julee Latimer, one of the MAVA artists chosen for the project, explains that she used many litres of paint due to her particular style and method of working. This involved applying two base coats of paint to the sculpture and then applying hundreds of dried paint blobs, each comprising 3-5 layers of paint. As these took weeks to dry, the whole process took three months.
A number of the MAVA artists involved in the project explained the inspiration behind their UooUoo sculptures:
Julee Latimer: ‘Sugar Rush’ was inspired by the memory of childhood when a handful of brightly coloured, sticky sweeties was heaven. I also wanted to create my design using dried paint as this is the material I use in my studio practice.
Leslie Goldman: I designed ‘I Carry You with Me’ after last summer’s devastating wildfires with thoughts of Victorian wildlife and the commitment we all have to care for them and the planet on which we live.
Fiona Tweddle: My sculpture ‘UooUoonicorn’ is covered in inspirational phrases relating to the images covering it.
Ru Ying Cai: With ‘Ladders UooUoo’, I wanted to create a colourful UooUoo design that allows people of all ages to interact with the sculpture in a playful way. The design of ‘Ladders UooUoo’ consists of a modified version of the Snakes and Ladders game without the snakes. The game represents our life journeys - sometimes our life journey stalls but it never goes backwards. Every experience along the way is relevant and formative. The audience can play the game and interact with the UooUoo using coloured dice which will be presented alongside the sculpture.
Wini Doodle: The design for my sculpture ‘I Want Candy’ (or Candy for short) is inspired by my childhood love of lollies and cute soft toys. I really hope that kids will like it and that my design will bring a smile to their faces.