Though Jane wasn’t confident she would be selected, her concept for the statue earned her the job.
“There were two aspects of my concept design that I think may have contributed to mine being the successful tender for this project,” Jane says. “Both aspects involve the design of the plinth.”
The plinth is the base of a statue. Though this could be a part of the design that is overlooked, Jane paid close attention to its importance and potential. Jane made the plinth to be a wide, flat cylinder about 2.2m in diameter, and about 0.4m in height, allowing people to interact with the statue.
“They could step up onto the plinth and be on the same level as JT,” Jane says. “This would make the statue, as JT is in real life, approachable from a selfies perspective. It would also create a comfortable height for it to be used as a seat for photographs or a meeting place.”
The design brief for the statue called for Johnathan Thurston’s role as a leader, a mentor and a role model to be reflected in the project. This may seem like a challenge, but it is one that Jane met head-on – or feet-on.
“Representing these aspects of JT’s contribution to the community and to North Queensland would have been difficult to achieve within the statue itself, which highlighted JT’s greatest sporting achievement,” Jane says. “So, in order to recognise and represent JT’s community work, I suggested incorporating an appropriately-designed Indigenous artwork that told his story around the plinth.”
Enter Indigenous artist Wayne Martin, who created the painting Birrang, which represents JT’s journey. “Like Wayne, I feel honoured to have been involved in creating a tribute to a legend that combined a statue and an Indigenous artwork to tell the whole story,” Jane says.
As for the statue itself, Jane wanted to create a dynamic form that reflected Johnathan Thurston’s vibrant personality and honoured the contribution he made to the sport of Rugby League.
“I was drawn to the field goal that won the 2015 NRL Grand Final in typical, breathtaking, Queensland derby style,” Jane says. “Not just because it was THAT kick. It was also a kick JT performed many times during his career and in my mind – and in the minds of many others I have spoken to – represented the essence of the man.”