By Jackson Russell
Assumption College Kilmore has installed a new statue of Marcellin Champagnat in one of the oldest parts of the school.
The statue replaces an old plaster cast version, which stood in the same spot in a quadrangle near the former boarding buildings that were removed during renovations four years ago.
Marcelllin Champagnat founded the Marist Brothers, the organisation responsible for starting Assumption College.
Sculptor Richard Yates carved the new statue entirely out of cedar.
The statue of Marcellin Champagnat depicts him in a pose seeking what is above, in line with the college’s motto ‘Quae Supra Quaere’ – Latin for ‘Seek the things that are above’.
A plaque at the base of the statue describes the significance of the statue and its pose.
Marcellin Champagnat is striding forwards, with a joyful look and eyes looking upward to the things that are above, representing the ‘essence of what it means to be Marist’, to have a strong mind and a gentle heart.
His left hand draws attention to the statue of Mary on the adjacent Fourviere building, reminding all who join with Marcellin to ‘follow Jesus by doing all things in the Way of Mary’.
Assumption College mission leader Paul Reed said it was a more than two-year process to replace the old statue, which was a favourite of old collegians.
“I reckon it was about October 2018 we actually got Richard in and sold him the concept and then we got back to it again last year to get into the detail of the space and the brief,” he said.
“As it mentions on the plaque, Marcellin is pointing to the Mary statues on the building and connecting it to the traditional old statues mounted on the ceiling of the building.”
Mr Reed said the statue was a beautiful contemporary piece.
“The sun glistens off the wood and varnish finish. The statue moves and dances in the sunlight. As you move around it and as the sun moves, the sculpture seems to move as well,” he said.
“We wanted Marcellin striding out and wanting to get to work. There’s a sense of awe and wonder from people that have seen it.
“The space where it is is a great gathering spot for students and I can’t wait for them to be back here and sitting amongst it.”
Mr Yates, who is originally from Wyoming, said the statue took two months and about 300 hours of work from a solid block of cedar.
“I did a lot of folds in the robes to catch the light and the varnish has a satin sheen so when you have all these different angles, it’s going to catch light like crazy,” he said.
“It’s a cool effect and it can have different personalities throughout the day as the light travels across him.
“It was great to work with Assumption College, I was honoured they chose me to do it.
“It was great to work with people like that, open-minded and willing to look at all angles to make it the best it could be.”