About the Artist:
“I have been an artist and art teacher all my life, and am fortunate enough to own a massive 900 square metre studio, with an additional outdoor sculpture area nestled beneath lemon scented gums.
I began my career as a painter but soon expanded into sculpture as a very sustainable way to create art.
My sculpture area at home has racks of assorted metal and various works in progress. I have adopted a certain fatalistic attitude towards sculpture. Initially I forced sculptures towards completion at the end stages, frequently not having the correct pieces to do so. Now I am more patient waiting for these metal pieces or “the missing link” to come to me, as I have the luxury of being able to work in a 30 metre long, avenue of sculptures, it gives me the time and headspace to really develop my large sculptures and more importantly to bounce from one concept to another.
I also carve small sculptures in wood mainly representing Gaia the life or spirit of the planet. These small works are usually under a metre and can contain up to 50 individually carved figures. I regularly balance creating small and large sculptures while exhibiting from Melbourne to Muswellbrook.” Visit Ralph’s website for more information and to purchase a piece!
The artist with one of his latest works, “Boat in a Storm.” Image courtesy of Ralph Tikerpae
The Toy Boat is a nostalgic return to childhood memories, the fond revisitation to halcyon days and carefree living in one’s own imagination. The sculpture is layered in symbols of childhood further heightened by a surface covered in bright colours that have patinaed by the passage of time.
Above the crow’s nest lies a reference to the child’s tea party, a purely innocent time, free of rational thought or judgement. However there always is the competitive element within childish ways represented by the snakes and ladders symbol of the ladder or does this epitomise the pure joy of climbing? The wheels attached to the boat are purely farcical and irrational capturing a time of childhood games, billy carts and skate boards. The audience will hopefully have to fight the urge to crouch down, play and reminisce.
The Toy Boat is one of a forever evolving series of sculptures delving into the fanciful world of Ralph Tikerpae’s Baltic heritage. These metal boats have varied in size from four metre giants to this relatively small one metre work. Some of these boat sculptures have also made political comment in the form of the “Ship of Fools” Series which developed during the last decade. These criticised our overzealous populating, growth and consumption which will be to the detriment of future generations.
Another ongoing series by Ralph Tikerpae was called the “Captain and His Wife” many of these show symbolic Adam and Eve figures on the deck of a boat. These represent a British Ship about to recolonise a so-called Terra Nullius continent. Such a work was shown in the Sculpture by the Sea” exhibition at Bondi 2014 viewed by over half a million people. He also won the small sculpture prize that year with another of his boats called The Modern Family.
Ralph Tikerpae, Toy Boat