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Monumental Sculpture by Patricia Piccinini Acquired by Art Gallery of South Australia
Patricia Piccinini, "Big Mother", 2005, Melbourne. Silicone, fibreglass, leather, human hair 175.0 cm (high). Gift of the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2010.
ADELAIDE.- With a value of more than $200,000, Big Mother is the most significant addition to the Gallery’s contemporary Australian art collection in recent times. The purchase was funded entirely with donations from the Gallery’s Contemporary Collectors group of benefactors.

Big Mother is a staggering work measuring 1.75m high, made from silicone, fibreglass, leather and human hair. It is the work of leading and sometimes controversial contemporary Melbournebased artist, Patricia Piccinini. It was inspired by the story of a baboon whose baby died while she was still nursing, and who abducted a human child as a substitute.

Unveiling the sculpture at a ceremony this morning, Minister Hill said, “Big Mother will add a new dimension to South Australia’s collection, which is already one of the greatest and most important in the country, comprising 38,000 works of art valued at more than $600 million. Patricia Piccinini is internationally renowned for her cutting-edge sculptures and installations and I’m delighted to welcome her remarkable creation, Big Mother, to her new home in Adelaide.”

Patricia Piccinini said about Big Mother, “This work is very much about the way that we deny our animalness. It’s not so much that the baboon – her physiognomy, her grief at the loss of a child – are so human, but that we are animals ourselves. These things are common primate characteristics. Big Mother is a tall, upright standing primate just like us.”

The Gallery’s Curator of Australian Art, Tracey Lock-Weir, who selected the work for acquisition, said, “This is the sort of sculpture that will make visitors stop and take a second look to see if it’s real. I’m sure it will fast become one of the most popular works in the Gallery’s collection and young children in particular will love it.”

The Gallery's Contemporary Australian Art Collection | Tracey Lock-Weir | Patricia Piccinini |

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