Queensland artist Bodo Muche is world-renowned for bringing animals and people to life in his monumental sculptures.

Story By James McEwan

There is talent that is unique to great sculptors; despite the cold metal and stone they work with, their subjects appear to be ready to spring into life at any second. Queensland artist Bodo Muche’s ability to breathe life into his work goes beyond mere decoration; he creates a world of virtual living animals.
In one example, Ndoto Porini, a pair of kudus drinks at a muddy African waterhole surrounded by elephant tracks. Accurate in minute detail from their huge antlers to the folds of skin under the neck, they seem alive, alert and ready for flight. Meanwhile, as a commission from an Omani client, a patient Arabian leopard sprawls over the rim of an ancient cave.
Bodo’s works range in size from miniature to monumental. Der Gigant, a life-sized red deer stag stands guard on his front lawn. Cast in bronze and modelled from a wild stag seen in the hills surrounding Esk, the statue is real enough to fool local deer.
Among hundreds of notable works, those that have brought Bodo national fame include his recent life-sized racehorse sculptures, such as the one of Golden Slipper winner ‘Todman’ that stands at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney. His wife Robyn says Bodo needs to be familiar with a horse to create its likeness. “He works with photographs and sketches but also by running his hands over the skin of his subject,” she says. “The remarkable thing is that it gives him a sense of the horse’s skeleton and muscles and he works from those memories.”
His current masterwork, Bush Friendship, is a bronze life-sized sculpture of artist Hugh Sawrey and publican Nelson ‘Darkie’ Dwyer. Both passed away in 1999. The two are seated diagonally opposite each other playing cards, as they so often did. Hugh has the look of a man well pleased with good cards while Darkie appears frustrated as he struggles with a bad hand. On the table beside each of them are extra cards to represent absent friends. Additionally, there is a copy of the book Outback, which was illustrated by Hugh and written by his great mate Lawrie Kavanagh during their bush adventures. The sculpture is now on display at Kogan on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

This Story is from Issue #88

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2013