Art at our heart
Around every corner at the North Terrace campus, students, staff and visitors to the University of Adelaide can find works of art on public display.
Many have been donated to the University, helping to enhance the campus environment and its culture.
Here are some examples of what visitors can expect to see, among them works created by famous artists.
Johnson Building garden
Stainless steel work by sculptor Herbert (Bert) Flugelman, who is well known to Adelaideans for The Spheres (“the Rundle Mall’s Balls”), and Tetrahedra on the Adelaide Festival Centre forecourt. Continuum, which reflects the artist’s interest in fundamental geometric forms, was a gift to the University of Adelaide on its centenary by Flinders University.
Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue (1906)
Hughes’ donation of £20,000 resulted in the establishment of the University of Adelaide in 1874. This bronze statue on a granite pedestal was presented to the University by the Hughes family. The larger-than-life work commands a place of prominence outside the Mitchell Building.
Sir Thomas Elder statue (1903)
Gifted to the University by public subscription upon Elder’s death, this bronze sculpture outside Elder Hall stands in honour of the university’s most generous benefactor. Elder’s gifts totaled around £100,000 – a staggering amount in the 1800s – helping to create academic positions in science, medicine and mathematics and establishing the Elder Conservatorium of Music.
Reconciliation Touchstone (2007)
Unveiled during Reconciliation Week, this reconstituted red granite work features imprints of handshakes. The imprints were a result of a Handshake Ceremony on North Terrace campus – around 120 people came together and a dental plaster was placed inside their clasped hands. The resulting forms are embossed with the traces of individual palms bonded together as a symbol of the University’s commitment to reconciliation.
Lower Napier, near Engineering South
This steel work by the nationally recognised South Australian sculptor Greg Johns is based on the eastern philosophical concepts of creating duality by breaking a circle. Its form is influenced by the work of Henry Moore.
Napier Building forecourt
Bryan Kneale is a renowned sculptor in the United Kingdom, celebrated for his inventive, modernist explorations of abstract forms. This reflects the international, adventurous outlook of its donor, Kym Bonython, AC DFC AFC, who gifted the steel sculpture to the University.
Medley Theatre Glass Mosaic (circa 1960–1963)
Originally designed for the Adelaide Teacher’s College Medley Dance Theatre, this work by the notable South Australian artist Geoffrey Wilson – best known for his landscape painting – represents education as a cultural and moral force in society. The work, comprising glass mosaic tiles made in Italy, was relocated to the Napier undercroft in 2004 where it complements the modernist architecture of the Napier building.
Walter Young Garden
Reclining Connected Forms (1969)
Considered internationally a leading sculptor of his generation, Henry Moore drew on his interest in armour, protection and the human form as inspiration for this work, suggestive of a mother shielding her child. This bronze sculpture was purchased for the University through the Benham Bequest.
Members of the public are welcome on campus to explore public art. Tours of these works and others are offered by University Collections. For enquiries email University Collections or phone (08) 8313 3086.
A map showing the location of the works of art above can be found on the PDF version of Adelaidean.