Special Projects: Historical and Site-Specific Works
The McLeods’ art is rooted strongly in their political and environmental beliefs. When the opportunity comes to engage in an art project that has particular environmental, political, or cultural significance, the McLeods are happy to use their artistic agency to those ends—especially when it comes to celebrating the culture and history of their beloved native Australia. For example, in Cooktown, Australia, they are working on a project called the “Little Old Man.”
The Little Old Man of Cooktown
Cooktown prides itself on their social and cultural integration in a remote region of the country. So much so that the community mantra is “two cultures—one people.” In 1770, a European sailor, Captain James Cook, stayed in Cooktown, studying the flora and fauna such as the kangaroo. It was one of the first encounters between native and European people in Australia. After a skirmish between the two cultures regarding their respective share of captured turtles, the Aboriginal people and the Europeans made peace at a location now known as “Reconciliation Rocks.” An indigenous elder known as “The Little Old Man” approached the group of Europeans holding a broken spear, a symbol of reconciliation. The Cooktown Reenactment Association has commissioned the McLeods to erect a bronze statue of the Little Old Man at Reconciliation Rocks as an ongoing celebration of peace, reconciliation, and Australian history. The Reenactment Association is currently fundraising for the project.
Australian Sculpture Park
The McLeods would also one day like to construct an Australian sculpture park with over 100 life-size sculptural portraits of the people of Australia. Similar to the Little Old Man project, the Australian Sculpture Park would showcase the beauty and diversity of the Australian people, as a tribute to unity amongst diversity and the power of community. It would also serve as a destination for art-tourism, like their proposed Tree of Life.
A Mindful Engagement with Place and Time
By nature, art draws upon history and location. Every artistic material, every site, every culture, has memories and stories that are woven through it and are often unseen from the surface. Conscionable engagement with history and place is a joy and privilege for any artist, and a challenge that the McLeods take on with pride.
The McLeods often work with NGOs, charities, or public institutions to make site-specific or time-specific works. If you are interested in collaborating on a special project, feel free to contact them directly by email.