People passing through Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, Australia, may be perplexed to see four pigs hogging the pedestrian walkway.
From the look, these four life-size bronze pigs, they are having a great day out at shopping center: one has his snout in a rubbish bin with a crumpled milk carton, orange peel, a half-eaten banana, apple core and a left-over sandwich. Another happily sits spread on the pavement, while still another comes running to join the fun.
After their launch on 3 July 1999 led the Adelaide City Council and the Advertiser newspaper to conduct a competition to name them, and now a plaque by each animal states its name and the person who named it: the standing pig is Oliver, the happy pig is Truffles, Augusta the sniffing pig and the sitting pig Horatio.
Marguerite Derricourt’s sculpture “A Day Out” has provided merriment since it was installed. After winning a national competition sponsored by the Adelaide City Council, Horatio, Truffles, Augusta, and Oliver took their place in the middle of the city’s main shopping district, which is peppered with convivial art.
Artist’s inspiration for the pigs came partly from Florence, Italy’s, famous “Il Porcellino” (piglet) fountain that draws tourists to Mercato Nuovo.
“There is a long history of animal figures in urban sculpture which reflect their importance to our society. I chose to sculpt pigs because I was captivated by their shapes and rounded forms, especially when created in a beautiful and enduring material like bronze. I really want people to touch them and interact with them.” She said, and in fact Adelaide shoppers regularly interact with them. However, because they are so attractive to play on for children and adults alike, the pig Oliver had to have his curly pointy tail chopped for safety reasons.
Like many public art projects the pigs drove controversy after they were approved by the city. Mostly stodgy art critics spared no ribbing that the pigs were “coarsely populist” and expected benefits were purely on speck. Fortunately, the crackling debate did not hinder the installation, and the reputation of the pigs has snowballed into a genuine attraction for tourism.
Some people believe the pigs are meant to signify the shoppers at Rundle Mall sniffing out a bargain!