Around the city of Bendigo statues have been putting on facemasks.
“It’s now regulation. Some people don’t realise this but the City of Bendigo employs people to stand as statues at various locations around town,” said Isaac Skinner, 27, from the City of Greater Bendigo’s Parks, Gardens and Living Statues Department.
The use of humans rather than bronze, concrete, marble, or tin has been argued at council meeting for years.
“Some think we should use hay bales or milk crates, but we get a grant from Arts Australia to keep these people off the streets elsewhere, so yeah, it’s good,” said Mr Skinner.
Doug Graham has been standing for George V for the past eight years, and thinks it’s his dream job.
“It’s outdoor work and the hours are ok,” said Mr Graham. “Sure it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during winter, summer, wind or rain, but before this I worked in Geelong. So. You know.”
Margaret Donk has stood as Queen Victoria for 40 years, and has seen many changes.
“Oh that giant lady who played Marilyn Monroe, such a delight, Sabine I think her name was, she was so good about people looking up her dress all day and then trying to climb her at night,” said Mrs Donk.
People trying to climb them, birds pooing on them, and long hours with no days off are some of the sacrifices living statue people make for their art.
“It really is art,” said Mr Skinner. “At least it’s something. It’s at least something. Have you seen that episode of Dr Who where the statues chase everyone? A bit freaky that. We don’t have those problems. We have Russell, and Doug, and Margaret, and Kevin. Kevin has to hold off tigers all day, keeping them in the exact position without a shirt on. It’s really impressive, when you think about it.”
For a tour of some statues at the Bendigo Conservatory Gardens have a look at this link here.