To the citizens of Cooma
Unpublished Letter to The Cooma-Monaro Express
This letter was sent on the 8th October 2013, but not published, as far as I know.
'The Man from Snowy River' Sculpture by Ian McKay 1966, Centennial Park, Cooma
Dear citizens of Cooma,
I am a Sydney-based sculptor with forty years experience as a full-time sculptor.
I am writing to you today in regard to your extraordinary sculpture by Ian McKay, The Man From Snowy River.
I am surprised to learn that part of the Cooma community remains, to this day, unconvinced by this remarkable sculpture. Local opinion argues, I am told, that some of the detail ought to more accurate.
In the eyes of a wider sculpture community the work remains one of the important public sculptures in Australia. My view and that of my colleagues is that the spirit of Banjo Patterson's poem is captured by the spirit of the sculpture. There is a sense of suspension and trepidation; the rider perched on the horse, the horse itself perched on the boulder; each ready to surrender to the task at hand, which is essentially for both to dive together into oblivion. This is the crest beyond which there is no turning back. This is the crest over which we all hover and mostly, linger.
The sculpture serves to remind us to seize the moment in life.
The detail in the sculpture may be sketchy, but the shapes and forms have such a sense of internal rhythm to them that some of the particular literal details can be overlooked. Like many viewers of the work, I am not a rider and perhaps as a result I am able to enjoy a more abstract quality in the work. There is a jauntiness and cheekiness in the sculpture's modelling however, which describes an Australian nature we mostly share.
This quality reinforces the timeless aspect of the work which sculptors seek to emulate today within their own work.
The residents of Cooma may be bemused that a discussion about the sculpture should happen so long after the event of its installation in the 60's. This is the beauty of sculpture however, which allows for re-appraisal , digestion and enjoyment over time.Please take another look!