The Romans Never Conquered Victoria
The Roman Empire spread far and wide and its influence on art and aesthetics has been enormous. However, the Romans never conquered the Antipodes.
I have always been enchanted by the myth of Romulus and Remus, the twins who were suckled by the she-wolf and considered the founders of Rome. In 1984 I interpreted this myth in clay. Since then my practice has been synonymous with making dogs. The most conspicuous is a bronze dog titled Larry La Trobe, who stands in front of the Melbourne Town Hall. He has been in Swanston Street since 1992. I have since adopted Larry as an avatar, reproduced in paintings, ceramics, sculptures and mosaics.
In this Work, he holds in his left hand a 3-D plastic digitally produced miniature of Larry LaTrobe. Beneath him are two antique Dresden china pudding dolls. They represent my own children replicating Romulus + Remus with the She Wolf in the Roman souvenir. The head of my figure is shaped like Larry La Trobe and the body is the shape of Victoria, where I live. The predominant colours of the mosaics are red, green and white, representing the Italian flag.
In this Work, the body is covered with Italian smalti (Venetian glass), the head is made up of hand-cut porcelain while, in his hand, is a painted bakelite map of Australia. All together, they represent a synthesis of Roman and contemporary Australian mosaic techniques, reminding us that while my aesthetic is connected to ancient Rome, I irreverently note that they never conquered Australia.