© Bert Flugelman / licensed by Viscopy 2004.
"Winged Figure - Lawrence Hargrave Memorial" was a work commissioned by the friends of the University to celebrate the Bicentenary of colonial settlement in 1988. The work was to celebrate the achievements of Sir Lawrence Hargrave who experimented with flight using box kites and experimental structures, and through his correspondence with the Wright brothers integral to the development of man made flight at the turn of the century.
Flugelman's homage depicts flight at the moment of take off, the transition from the grounded world into the air. The figure and its base all literally seem to be taking the figure up and outward into the heavens, its placement at the foot of Mount Keira underlining this, the mountain being a place where hang gliders who also pay homage to the sky, take off.
Fabricated in Port Kembla at BHP steelworks the figure was taken to its site by flight and for a few minutes was briefly gliding above the city suspended from a Shinook helicopter and dropped into place.
The sculpture was built by scaling up piece by piece the figure from a detailed maquette. Originally a commercial process was to be used but the curves and twist in each facet made this impossible.
The headless figure, although made from dense, hard stainless steel is quite delicate when butted up against the vastness of the sky. Originally spot-lit at night to increase it's visibility " Winged Figure-Lawrence Hargrave Memorial" can be seen from many vantage points in Wollongong. Given its placement and scale "Winged Figure - Lawrence Hargrave Memorial" can be seen as Wollongong's answer to the statue of Jesus Christ that can be seen overlooking the city of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.