Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Alex Downer

"Father and Son" -
Downer statue in Garema Place, Canberra

Personally I have had it with Alex Downer, ever since a statue of his Grandfather and his father was installed in Garema Place, in Canberra many, many years ago, with the father figure pouring water (or was it meant to be wine?) into the son's mouth. Sickeningly accurate portrayal of nepotism, now apparently being extended unto the 4th generation.
Read on.

This quote is from Crikey.com

Well, there's something we didn't know, and thank you Australian Story, vanity hagiographers by appointment to Alexander Downer, for drawing it to our attention.

We didn't know it when young Georgina Downer slipped like a nepotist in the night to join the family firm as a Foreign Affairs graduate trainee -- a feat she managed despite a modest third-class honours degree that might normally have disqualified the majority of applicants. And never mind that only 39 of her fellow applicants out of 1695 managed to crack a job with DFAT. We didn't realise that not only was she going to work at Daddy's department, just as Daddy and Daddy's Daddy had done, but that she would also be sharing digs with Daddy in his Canberra unit, bringing new meaning to the notion of ''arm's length''.

Have these people no concept of what is even remotely seemly? And Alexander wonders why people find him hard to take. ''People have said the most shocking things,'' he says. Of course they have, Alex, of course they have.

The ACT Govt Public Art Website says:
This artwork was presented to the people of Canberra by the Hon. Alex Downer in memory of his father Sir John Downer. Originally installed in 1964, it was restored and relocated in Garema Place with a new marble base in 1986.

The effect of this statue has always been to tell me that I would never amount to a hill of beans (as the Americans say), seeing as my Grandfather was not a former Premier of South Australia, and a member of the first Australian Senate.

Public art as a political act, to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the "lower orders"? We shall have to ask Georgina Downer her opinion. I am sure she will have one!

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