The noted Adelaide artist and sculptor Dr. John Dowie AM is immortalised in this statue by John Woffinden.
Dowie’s sculptures are found throughout South Australia and the world, from Windsor Castle to the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.
His primary school art teacher insisted the 10-year-old Dowie attend the South Australian School of Art (SASA). Later in his youth, he exhibited with the Royal South Australian Society of the Arts.
With the outbreak of World War II, Dowie enlisted in 1940 and served in Palestine, New Guinea and Cairo. He returned to Australia in 1942. In 1945, he left the army and returned to Adelaide.
At the time the Adelaide art scene was in a state of flux. There was a gulf between classically trained artists and the new modernist movement. The Contemporary Art Society of South Australia had broken away from the Royal South Australian Society of Arts. Dowie sided with the Contemporaries. He was also a founding member of the modernist collective, Group 9.
Within this atmosphere, he continued exhibiting and became one of the most noted artists in Australia. His works in Adelaide include the Three Rivers Fountain in Victoria Square, Alice in Rymill Park and the Victor Richardson Gates at Adelaide Oval.
In June 1981, Dowie was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the arts. In 2005, he became South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year. He died on April 22, 2008, aged 93.
Dowie said of Woffinden’s sculpture that it was “an interesting difference of angle, quite different from me, but at the same time it is me and it is a good likeness indeed”.