Mystery plaque behind 'Youngster' sculpture highlights plight of refugee children


Every day, tens of thousands of commuters walk past the diminutive figure in a hoodie on the corner of George and Barrack streets in the CBD. Most would probably give the bronze sculpture barely a second thought. But one person at least has thought about it very deeply. In fact, deeply enough to have a professional-looking plaque installed on the wall behind, casting the work in a wholly different light.


“Lest we forget them,” begins the text. “Children seeking asylum in Australia are kept in detention as part of a government policy which inflicts harm on refugees fleeing violence and persecution,” it continues. “Their suffering is our shame. Here at this site we remember them and together call out for change.”

Pictures of the mysterious plaque, which appeared a few weeks ago, have since been doing the rounds on social media.

Artist Caroline Rothwell, who created the work entitled Youngster, has yet to see the unauthorised addition but has declared herself “delighted”. “I feel quite honoured that whoever has put it there has chosen to interact with it in that way,” she said.

“I agree with the sentiment. Also part of my idea with the work is that these little hooded figures we generally see as a threatening form are actually vulnerable.

“I think it’s great that an artwork can be used in the conversation in that way. I don’t feel that it is appropriated, I feel that it is extending the conversation.

“When the art is out in the public space, you always hope it will take on a life of its own.”

Youngster, which has a “partner” figure of a handstanding child a few metres away, was installed in 2012 as part of the City of Sydney’s Art and About festival.

Read more:

Bookmark this on Delicious

SEO-AU Links Best INFP Websites - Click here to Vote for this site!