He’s hardly Michelangelo’s David, but the sculptural form of Graham possibly has just as much to say about human anatomy.
Whereas the Italian embodiment of masculine beauty was a political emblem of its time, Graham is a commentary about what the human body would need to look like in order to withstand the road trauma experienced every day on Victorian roads.
Commissioned by the Transport Accident Commission by Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini on advice from trauma and crash experts, Graham has just been installed for viewing at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
His presence has already started having a huge effect on visitors.
A group of students from Beaufort Secondary College visited the gallery on Wednesday, with learner driver Hayley Crowley describing Graham as a disturbing wake-up call.
Miss Crowley gained her learners’ license in August and said Graham proved to her the human body was not designed to withstand road trauma.
“It kind of scared me a little at first – if we were meant to survive a car crash that’s what we’d have to look like.”
She said she’d been driving since she was 10 on her family’s paddock, but highway driving at 100km/h was a different story altogether.
“My parents are panel beaters so I see what happens a lot when people are talking or texting while driving,” she said.
Fellow student Samara Blake, 15, said seeing Graham had further reinforced for her the tragedy people faced when involved in car accidents.
Art Gallery of Ballarat marketing and public programs officer Peter Freund said visitors to the gallery were also given the opportunity to use Google Tango, a iPad that surveyed and mapped entire rooms and spaces, not yet available commercially in Australia.
The software means that visitors can point the device at any point on Graham’s body, and discover detailed information about his anatomy.
TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said Graham’s tour through regional Victoria was particularly important, as Victorians were four times as likely to die on country roads than metropolitan ones.
Graham is on exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until November 24, when he will move onto Latrobe as part of his statewide tour.
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