Founders’ statement

Founder’s Sculpture Prize Artist Statement


Beggars are overlooked as if they wear a cloak of invisibility.

In this disguise, bestowed upon him by Athena, Odysseus re- enters his household. It is the perfect tactic. With the freedom afforded to him by the disguise he uncovers a world of chaos.

My beggar represents a powerful force for change; the antithesis of the ruinous excesses of the household. He kneels and reaches out his hands. We are not sure whether it is to give or to receive. We don’t know if he is submissive or about to rise up forcefully. His face is partially hidden.

I am inspired by the solemn, sacred, symmetrical and architectural sculptures of Ancient Egypt and Archaic Greece. In Egyptian sculpture, the hand gesture is one of purification. The pose is similar to that of the Hero Pose in Yoga. His hands join together symbolising completion. The simplicity, symmetry and strong architectural form speak of his kingship and of the order which he must restore.

My model studied philosophy at Cambridge at which time he memorised The Odyssey. A complicated character; his own life experience has had many parallels with that of Odysseus.

My working method combines an initial vision with a process of discovery through studying the model. My vision for the next stage is of a more ominous figure with his face guarded by raised shoulders and with more tension throughout the body; the whole form suggestive of a bow drawn back, implying the slaughter to come.

Ellen Christiansen


The model was Peter Marsden. Click here to see more info on Pete


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