Penguin or Homunculus

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (1)

Bruce Comfort on October 19, 2011

There is no question that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this stone carving can never be accused of being beautiful. I don't know who carved it and I don't intend to find out.

It was installed in the forecourt of a local motor vehicle dealer which has another limestone sculpture on the forecourt as a "symbol " of its Holden Dealership status, being a 3D interpretation of the Holden Lion and pretty damned good too! You will be able to see it in Google Streetview if you want.

The story is that this penguin (if that is what it is) was carved under the patronage of the local mayor of Oamaru - he, reacting positively as he thought to the uproar caused when the existing penguin statue in Oamaru, so much beloved by the people with all their taste in their mouth, was taken down and re-located to a far away corner of the Borough when the roads around it were upgraded and the footpaths widened.

It was a fat little caricature, modelled on a Bathtub Rubber Ducky they say, acknowledged by the sculptor as having been done without the guidance of a drawing or photo of a penguin and many of Oamaru's sensitive citizens were glad to see it go from town where it was actually an embarrassment and unsuited to the competent and classic limestone work on our beautiful old 19th Century buildings.

So, at one of the biannual Limestone Sculpture symposiums held in town, someone set out under the wing of the Mayor to make a nice new penguin to put up in town - possibly where the old one had been. However the thing looked worse and worse every day and so the story goes, the Mayor declined to purchase it, feeling (good for him!) that those same residents who had railed against the rubber ducky would be just as or even more distressed if this homunculus ever got put up in town with or without a contribution of public money. And there the story might have ended except the local car dealer (you do your own characterisation of car dealers yourself if you feel it is appropriate - I make no general comment) bought the thing and put it up in his yard.

This is thankfully not in the main street and now few tourists are ever seen photographing it. My photo is the only one on Google Earth.

I have no idea how anyone could call this artwork which is worth erecting. I have no idea how anyone could be prepared to have their taste in art so publicly displayed.

If you need to see beautiful Oamaru limestone carving look here.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 14, 2009
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort
    • Camera: OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO.,LTD X300,D565Z,C450Z
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/800)
    • Focal Length: 8.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO50
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash