Project: 'Hartogs Step' or 'Hartog Alights'
Year the project commenced: 2015
Year it became impossible: 2015
This sculpture proposal represents the fateful step ashore of a lost explorer - a man off-course and out of context with this distant land.
A pair of giant, flamboyant, thigh-length boots step ashore in Denham, Western Australia. These oversized boots, the style a ship’s captain might have worn in 1616, are as out of place on the Australian beach as they were 400 years ago when they stepped upon the sand of Denham but, deemed necessary in every voyage, they will serve as a marker as surely as a map or a pinpoint.
It is a truly Australian characteristic to view history and perceived 'greatness' with a charming sense of wryness and irony, and this sculpture lovingly embraces this contemporary attitude while illuminating Hartog’s historical visit.
These 1600mm-high boots would be cast in bronze. And tucked in the generous folds and wrinkles of the sculpted boots are discrete LED lights which illuminate the sculpture, highlighting its texture and scale, and creating a wondrous night-time vision of the fabled explorer’s boots, gleaming on the shore.
While the detail of this sculpture has an intimacy, the overall impact is that of a landmark. They will be of a scale that will enable children to climb on them, as well as being both a popular ‘selfie’ background for tourists and a historic record of Hartog's disembarkation.