Wirambi – the Sydney Fruit Bat or Flying Fox – is a male totem of the Boorooberongal males (Dharug Nation) in Western Sydney.
Several years ago, I learned of the major importance of this supreme mammal to not only the ecosystem but to the Aboriginal Nations of the ‘Sydney’ basin. Also, I MC’d a protest concert held in Hyde Park regarding the State Governments plans to eradicate the totems from the Botanic Gardens. They were then viewed as pests of plague proportions and were to be blasted with industrial noise through loud speakers.
Of course, the biggest killer in the urban centres is power lines. Frequently the creatures zap themselves whilst clawing for the second power line and immediately fry themselves in a puff of smoke as upwards of 69,000 volts pass through their small bodies.
I was on my morning walk in Redfern, January 2017 when I came across this amazing specimen who’d zapped himself the night prior. He’d fallen cleanly to the road below and remained in a peaceful sleeping position on his back. I immediately envisioned this opportunity – to cast him and immortalise him in bronze, as the Government does with famed Colonials. So I collected him in a fruit box and promptly placed him in the freezer. I then tracked down one of Sydney’s leading mold-makers to assist me in the incredibly delicate process of molding the torso. After some weeks and much trial & error (and abhorrent odours) … we arrived at the mold-worthy of pursuing the first suite of molded resin pieces. The quality of the mold has also enabled the production of this first bronze piece and also the beginning of limited edition gold (plated) and nickel (plated) pieces. Seven have been hand-painted.
Blak Douglas, 2017