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Public Sculpture

Brisbane City Hall tympanum

Daphne Mayo | Australia 1895–1982 | Brisbane City Hall tympanum | Photograph: Richard Stringer, 2011

Queensland Women’s War Memorial

Daphne Mayo | Queensland Women’s War Memorial 1929–32 | Helidon freestone | Anzac Square, Brisbane | Photograph: Richard Stringer, 2011

Public Library of New South Wales east doors

Daphne Mayo | Public Library of New South Wales east doors, The life and activities of the Australian Aborigine 1940–42 | Photographer unknown | Image courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales SPF/196

Daphne Mayo: Let There Be Sculpture | 4 November 2011 − 15 January 2012 | QAG | Free admission

Throughout her career, Daphne Mayo worked mostly for commissions, undertaking her first commission in 1917, at the age of 22. By the time she retired in the 1970s, she had completed about 35 commissions for public sculpture around Australia, some of these for multiple works such as stations of the cross.

Mayo’s extraordinary output was made possible by using mason assistants – that is, male assistants – to do the initial roughing-out on large-scale works. This was then standard practice; however, she did not relegate all the carving to others and took on strenuous labours herself, including most of her own plaster casting.

The most important of these major public sculptures are:
1927–30 | Tympanum and concert hall frieze, Brisbane City Hall
1929–32 | Queensland Women’s War Memorial, Anzac Square, Brisbane
1940–42 | East doors, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

Further information on Daphne Mayo’s public sculpture is available in the exhibition catalogue, on sale in the Gallery Store and online.