Reading the News

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Artist: Mary Perrott Stimson
Title: Reading the News
Installed: 2001
Materials: Cast Bronze
Location: Civic Centre Precinct, Wollundry Lagoon

Reading the News was based on a drawing of a woman who was seen by Mary Perrott Stimson sitting in Baylis Street. This sculpture was commissioned by Wagga Wagga City Council as a Centenary of Federation Project along with many artworks around the Wollundry Lagoon. To mark the Centenary of Federation, the woman, named Deborah is reading the news. One side of the paper features the Wagga Wagga Advertiser from 1901 and the Daily Advertiser from 2001. Funded by the Commonwealth Government as part of Wagga’s Wollundry Project, the sculpture celebrates the centenary of Federation.

The stylised newspaper was formed in the shape of the wings of a butterfly, with the butterfly pattern repeated on Deborah’s clothes. The inspiration was drawn from Mesopotamian imagery, with the butterfly representing souls.

Mary Perrott Stimson has produced numerous public artworks around Australia and internationally, including murals for London Hospital and bronze sculptures for the City of Richmond, Victoria. She was born in Norfolk, United Kingdom and studied at the Chelsea College of Art and then the Chisholm Institute of Technology and University of Melbourne. Her inspiration comes especially from Egyptian, Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Papua New Guinea bas-relief work, often centred on portraiture and archetypal imagery. From her studies, Stimson was obsessed with figurative sculpture, a contrast to the increasingly abstract world. Her double-sided bas-relief style created figures that were flattish, but still three dimensional. Stimson said “they are actually drawings – three dimensional drawings made of bronze”.