Axeman Sculpture

Axeman Sculpture, Brisbane, Australia

Public Art : Axeman Sculpture

Sculptor : © John Underwood's Artbusters Organisation

Axeman Sculpture, Brisbane, QueenslandDescription of the Axeman Sculpture: A fibreglass sculpture of an axeman perched high up on a branch of a tree, about to take a swing.

Date the Axeman Sculpture Unveiled : The Axeman Sculpture was part of World Expo 1988 (Brisbane). It was placed in its current location outside the National Bank after the Expo.

Location : The Axeman was located (up until recently) on a small laneway off Queen Street, outside the National Bank, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It mysteriously vanished in May, 2012. Its whereabouts unknown.

History of the Axeman Sculpture : In 1988 Brisbane was host to the World Expo. Now for all of you wondering, a World Expo (short for World Fair) is an event designed for countries to show off their best products, designs etc. The first ever Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851 under the title “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” (the brain child of Queen Victoria's hubby, Prince Albert). Hmm it soon caught on, so today it is the third largest event in the world in terms of economic and cultural impact, after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games (go figure). But before the French get up in arms, the origins of World Fairs can be found in the French tradition of national exhibitions, notably the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 which was held in Paris.

The World Expo of 1988 featured a series of about 90 sculptures, called "Human Factors", which were created by John Underwood's Artbusters Organisation as part of the show. The sculptures were made from fibreglass and painted white (though I think axeman is now a charming shade of grey). Each sculpture represented people going about their daily routine. Mr Axeman has been perched outside the National Bank near Queen Street for nearly twenty years. I am surprised Axeman has survived relatively unscathed for so long considering he is fibreglass!

Notes of World Expo Interest : If you look really, really closely at the Prince Albert statue in Sydney, you will notice that in his hot little hand is a scroll. Well, that scroll is the plans for Crystal Palace which he built for the first World Expo.

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