Monument to the Universal Soldier – 2017

ArtMonument to the Universal Soldier – 2017
Monument to the Universal Soldier – 2017

Monument to the Universal Soldier – 2017


Mixed Media sculpture.  Readymade reproduction soldier on cement base with climbing rope. W 22 x H 46 x D 22cm

In a small sculpture, I addressed suicide within the context of the violence that is the essential
product of the military. Drawing on past iconography I have fashioned two prominent inter-related nooses at
either end of the same rope. Arguably, the nature of volunteering for professional mortal combat has a deep seated suicidal psychopathology. In the deepest recesses of the psyche of the soldier-mentality is the antithesis of the biological struggle for survival — a will to self-destruct. The voluntary death rate among serving as well as past soldiers has always been exceptionally high. 

Historian Joanna Bourke in War and Art (2017) states, “War is the most destructive activity known to humanity.
Its purpose is to use violence — plunder, [rape], forced emigration, wounding, starvation and slaughter — to
compel opponents to submit and surrender.” Soldiers have always been the conduit for this manifestation of a
violent assertion of others’ power. This sculpture takes the form of a large ‘boys own’ heroic
toy soldier in a standard militaristic pose of attack. The “Home Guard” is a plastic polyresin “readymade”
which has been modified with the addition of a military-style lanyard. It is configured with a double ended
noose coloured in stark lurid pink against the drab military green. The symbolic weight of one hero/victim’s actions reciprocally hangs the ‘other’. Either way, by being simply in the military he has placed himself in harm’s way and could very well die. I am reminded of my brother David’s harsh but veritable epithet — that “a soldier’s duty is only fulfilled when he is killed”.

Very few people are aware that the citizens of Costa Rica, not only overthrew their governing military Junta in 1969, but then banned the military. They have NO armed forces. Since 1969 Costa Rica has not been militarily threatened or tried to exert military force in
any sphere. What a role model for Australia — and the world.

Cabalist Talmudic and Qur’annic scholars similarly
maintain: “Whoever kills a person… it is as though he has killed all mankind.”

Monument to the Universal Soldier – 2017
Monument to the Universal Soldier – 2017

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