I’m sure many were sad to see the shutdown of the website novelactivist.com. However, it should be understood that it was not shuttered because of controversial content. It’s founder, Ray Harris, established the site to assist in his research for his novels, especially Navaratri. In the long run Harris said, “it became a financial burden and a distraction from writing.” This site was important to me because it was one of the first I encountered when I began to study the cult of the girl child in earnest. A handful of posts stand out in my mind and I felt it important that public attention be brought to them. So this is one of many “rescues” that I plan to post on this site.
The timing of my early research coincided with the controversy over Bill Henson’s photographs of young people around 2009 (more on that later). One of the things affected was this statue commissioned from Karin Tulloch in Perth in 1936 to be displayed publicly.
Because of the outcry over Hensen’s work at the time, the council found it prudent to temporarily relocate this statue to a more discreet area. The model, Judith Anketell, then 80 continued to defend the statue as a legitimate work of fine art. You can also see images of the work in progress here.
Ron, according to the linked Facebook post, it was Judith who passed away in 2002 aged 87. But the piece says that it was Karin. It was Patrica’s comment that said it was Karin who passed away.
It was Karin, as Judith was alive in 2006 to do an audio interview for some Australian outfit called “Trove”. Judith was alive to see the sculpture of herself put in place, the artist who made it sadly was not.
Judith was aged 9 in 1936, so she was aged 75 in 2002. See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Tulloch-878 for the years of birth and death of Karin Tulloch: 1914–2002.
In the meantime, I had posted a comment onto that Australian Facebook thread. They responded to it and corrected the error in the main text of the post.
Jerrold, there was an obvious mistake in the Facebook post as Christian has also aptly noted. In the post with the images of the work in progress linked by Ron you can find photos of Judith witnessing the casting process of the sculpture in 2008. I have seen that you also told Perth Public Art Foundation to correct this error – thank you for that!
There is some more information on the model available and the making of the statue – I used Bing and did searches for (“Judith” Karin Tulloch) and (Judith Anketell Australia). She was born in Katanning in 1927, then her family move to Perth in the 30’s. She sat for the statue – originally done in clay – during the (there) winter months of June thru August, and was rewarded with a clock. Later she spent several years in the UK as a kindergarden teacher before returning to Australia and marrying in 1952, having two children. She was a poet, wrote articles, short stories and at least one book, a biography of R.J. Anketell. Most of the internet articles are positive but I did find one disgusting article by Occident Prone, “Statue to draw more deviants to Perth”. I’m afraid I couldn’t resist the urge to tell them who the real deviants were…
Yes, it is really surprising how available this information is.
Thank you for this entry, Ron. According to this Facebook post [this link requires you to log in to Facebook -Ron] from Perth Public Art Foundation, due to strong advocacy by Lisa-Michelle Scaffidi (the first female Lord Mayor of Perth) and the City of Perth the sculpture is still on display publicly.
To be precise, it is in front of the building located at 18 Howard Street, Perth. It can be find easily in the Google maps; in fact, all the street views of October 2015 – May 2019 period demonstrate that the sculpture is there, in a little alcove of the lo-fi men’s retail outlet window. Interestingly, this was the place where the young Judith, at that time under her maiden name Judith Fyfe, lived with her parents. As reported in the “Public Art Around The World” website, the Fyfe family faced immense financial hardships in the Great Depression period.
“Judith’s dad had lost his job after the bank he worked for collapsed. The family soon found themselves without an income, savings or home. Fortunately they were able to find cheap rent in a caretaker’s flat on the top floor of 18 Howard Street in the central city of Perth.” At that time Karin Tulloch, a young but already well-known artist had a studio at 15 Howard St, located just opposite side of the street. She quickly struck up a friendship with Judith and asked Judith’s parents for a permission for Judith to sit for her. The artwork was created in a studio at 15 Howard Street over three wintry months in 1936. “Each day after school the young Judith would sit and pose for the sculptor. The only thing she had to keep herself warm was a small radiator and the only thing she had to amuse herself was a window in which she could spy on the Esplanade Hotel staff polishing the silver and setting the tables in readiness for the evening meals. Finally the plaster sculpture was completed and Judith was rewarded for her patience with a small chrome bedside clock.” When Karin decided to move to Melbourne, the cost of shipping plaster sculptures was too high and she decided to gift the casts to her models. Karin Weir Tulloch (married name Wigan) passed away in 2002 aged 87 and unfortunately could not witness casting the statue in bronze for public.
Finally, in the Facebook album of the work in progress linked by Ron there is a photo showing Karin in her studio, working on “Judith” with a life model. The picture is of a very poor quality, it looks like a page of an album or a book. Does anyone have a better copy?
Thank you for the extra details and context of its commission. -Ron
What is interesting is that the sculpture seems to be anatomically correct to a degree I was surprised to see, including a clitoris.
Please refer to my reply to Jonathan’s comment earlier. And before any more people get on the bandwagon, I will be redacting or deleting any further silly comments that overly focuses on the clitoris. -Ron
The girl’s clitoris is visible. That’s why it’s controversial.
Clitoris, clitoris, clitoris! It’s remarkable what people will focus on. The fact that the clitoris is visible is a testament to the anatomical accuracy of the figure. I dare say that if a member of her family saw the statue, they would recognize her because the details are right. That’s why it had to be called Judith. She was not just some generic girl; she was a real and specific girl.
The notion that the clitoris was the reason for the controversy is oversimplifying things. The focus on that kind of detail was considered a more effective way of making one’s point—a kind of contrivance. The objection was always about a real naked girl child displayed in public. Like Graham Ovenden’s States of Grace, the authorities focused on particular images to make their case but their real objection was a book on naked girl children being sold freely in the US.