Friends of Gulf St Vincent

The Friends' principal aim is to:
Foster a unified community approach
to the protection and wise use of
the Gulf of St Vincent

Speech by sculptor Indiana James
at the unveiling of his Sea Eagle public artwork at Grange

5 August 2006

First I would like to acknowledge all of those ancient and modern peoples who have cared for this land on which I am standing. Thanks all of you for coming today. I recognise many important faces in the crowd but I won't embarrass any of you by calling out your names.

Next I wish to make one apology, the only one I'll make for all this, and that is to all of you who have to listen to an American accent for the next few minutes. In this time of great global strife and pain, it's not an easy accent to carry around. During the past 1000 or more years, at least from the time of Pliny the Elder, the eagle has been appropriated by kingdoms and nation states as a symbol of silent human power and agility. Those of you soccer fans who watched the recent World Cup saw images of the German Reichstag. And the bald eagle is well recognized today as a symbol of US hegonomy.

This sculpture uses this symbol to more correctly, in my opinion, represent the power and agility of nature, facing the humanity of a city with an expression of curiosity and careful suspicion.

Why here on the beach? We know the sea eagle as a cliff dweller, but in fact her original range included all Australian coastal environments and extended well inland. The coasts she avoids today are those populated with our cities. Before Adelaide she would have hunted this beach and landed on this pylon. Hopefully this sculpture is a subtle representative of the current extent of our human footprint in the environment.

Indiana James
Kangaroo Island

5 August 2006

Last modified 2nd November 2006.