bronze sculpture by Shona Nunan

Spirit Guardian

Shona Nunan



edition 2 of 8

228 x 67 x 47 cm


catalogue number SNS02

The Spirit Guardian came to me in 2011 when we were staying on the beach in Thailand. I found a beautiful segment of tortoise shell that to me looked like the male partner in one of my guardian figures. At this stage in my work, I was a lot more figurative so it took years before this inspirational find was able to evolve with meaning into my work. Spirit Guardian is also evocative of other influences in my work including the shield and the mask of ancient cultures. For me, the Spirit Guardian is about the creation of a form that one recognises as a protector, that in its simplicity and strength it is representative of the essence of life.

This sculpture is highly textured on the ‘front’ side where there is the reminiscence of human form in the line of the body, the head and the firm anchoring of the lower legs to the earth, the flat rectangular form around it, like a cloak. The texture of this front side has a feeling of being feathery, and I guess this come from my constant delight in feathers and their ability to make you feel swathed in softness, the wing like curl of the feather forms, creating that feel of the mother enfolding her chick. The ‘back’ of this Guardian is a firm hard surface, like the outer shell. There are some lines that came from the original tortoise shell that for me are the marking of the shoulders and backbone and I have incorporated this ‘segmentation’ into other guardian figures as well.

‘Spirit Guardian’ is a quite two dimensional piece in that it is not rounded with sides. Its form is bent gently towards the viewer and feels like it towers over one. Its presence is benign.