Global Gormley

Kookynie is often in the vanguard of cultural (first Australian outback eruv) and artistic endeavours. In the 2003 Perth Festival, British sculptor Antony Gormley selected our front yard for an original sculptural installation of impressive dimensions. About 50 kms west of our sister metropolis of Menzies (pop. 120) it adorns salty Lake Ballard.

Gormley used locals as models for his quirky figurative sculptures, which involved naked auditions in a giant scanner to record body shapes. Reception was lukewarm until $20 inducements were offered. Planned for a 3 months exhibition the fifty lanky steel sculptures still stand, and form the major tourist attraction 150 kms north of Kalgoorlie. Not to be missed on your next trip out west, or east if you’re coming from Perth. Try to avoid the rainy season.

As Gormley was obviously onto a good thing, and inspired by his near-Kookynie experience, he went global. He made the figurines smaller, easy to mass produce and under license in China – thousands of them, to show the rising tide of humanity or some such. They had outings in a Sydney warehouse and elsewhere, before heading to England.

The clay figurines are not at all reminiscent of the famous terracotta warriors, and they do seem rather gormless (ha!), but they line up similarly and certainly fill a space, numbering over 200,000. Anyway, check it out. Go forth global Gormley, with our blessing, and multiply!


  1. These little guys are keenly sought as souvenirs. There I was volunteering at the Biennale Walsh Bay event a few years back pouncing on sly fingers.

    There I was, numb from the cold winter winds seeping through the floorboards, watching the crowds become mesmorised by all the different faces of this mass of little clay guys. So what is art?

  2. PS. Mesmerize or mesmerise – etymology from the 19C Viennese physician practising hypnosis: Franz Anton Mesmer.

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