In February 2009, the selection panel announced the shortlist of ten artworks. From these ten, the People's Choice and Commission were awarded.
1. Bruce Beasley Good & Evil - stainless steel and black granite
This project has caused me to give a great deal of thought to both the legend of St George and the Dragon and how contemporary sculpture can address the complex issues of good and evil.
The sculpture speaks to the fact that we are not confused by Good. We know it and recognize it; what we have difficulty with is doing it. Evil, on the other hand, is complex, tricky and unclear. We know and feel its presence, but we are often unsure of just where it begins and ends. Evil is often confusingly complex.
The sculpture represents a positive view in that Good is prevailing at this point, but it does not represent Good as finally triumphing over Evil. The struggle continues.
2. Gil Bruvel St George and the Dragon - 316 grade stainless steel - PEOPLE'S CHOICE
The horse, comprised of square ribbons outlining its actual shape and hollowness, I see as a fragment of God’s breath pushing St George as if he were like a sail. The horse acts more as an energy source, helping to propel St George towards his perpetual adversary, the dragon: in current vernacular, the shadowy undercurrents of our instinctual behavior.
The dragon I have severely abstracted in order to gain distance from the proliferation of monsters in the current media environment, transposing it into a higher key and enabling a more universal psychological reading of something like ‘the recesses of the unconscious’.
3. Marcus Canning & Christian de Vietri Ascalon - black granite, chromed steel, powder-coated aluminium and lighting - COMMISSIONED WORK
‘Ascalon’ seeks to create a space of contemplation, exhilaration and inspiration.
It distills the essence of St George mythology in a contemporary, abstracted rendition that is timeless in its relevance, evoking the greater archetypal truths that permeate from his story and how these truths pertain to the individual and to society, now and for centuries to come.
In Medieval Romance, ‘Ascalon’ is the name of the lance used by St George to slay the dragon. Here, the lance is rendered as a monumental tube that emits a single beam of light into the heavens at night.
It is set into a large fragmented landscape. An abstracted representation of the slain body of the dragon, this highly detailed and complexly faceted terrain has a crack running along its central axis that emanates from the point where the lance has entered the petrified, fossilised and fragmented form of the dragon. At night, light shines up through the crack, illuminating the luminous white form suspended above it.
The third element to the work is a billowing white cloak form that wraps and warps in a single undulating plane around the lance. Despite its large dimensions (11m x 5m), it holds an ethereal lightness alongside its elemental power. The form is an abstraction of St George on his steed and also references the recurring cloak form that features in many depictions of St George across Western art history, usually operating as a field similar to a halo or angel’s wings. The form aims to evoke a sense of righteous power and victory over a force of darkness and oppression.
4. Wim Delvoye Twisted George - bronze
We model a classic ‘St George-slaying-the-dragon’ statue in 3D software, then, using the spear as a central axis, we twist the statue according to very mathematical methods.
The resultant digital file is then realized in bronze, ready for the ages.
5. Donald Gialanella St George and the Dragon Parallax Cross - CorTEN steel, stainless steel and gold leaf
This sculpture is designed around the principle of the parallax, meaning the angle and distance of the viewer determines which of two distinctly different images will be seen. When approaching the sculpture from the front at the optimum viewing distance, a perfect cross is seen. As the viewer’s angle of observation changes, the edges of the profile plates give way to the dimensional image of St George on horseback slaying the dragon.
When I embedded the cross inside the image of St George and the dragon using parallax architecture, I knew I had hit upon an elegant and novel solution that revealed the spirit of God within man's struggle of good over evil.
6. Alex Sándor Kolozsy Victory Over Evil - silicone bronze, concrete and red granite
Since I like history and archeology and today you need to be politically right in details, I went to learn the true story of St George, and although the majority of Christian stories depict him as a Crusader in the Holy Land, I found that he was of Eastern Turkish origin born in the third century, served in the Roman Army, fought and killed the dragon in Libya and later died in Israel.
So I have selected the historically correct image of St George, depicting him in Roman-style armour seated on a large stallion war horse, like the Dutch Friesian. The monument is full of movement and action between the three combatants. A battle between good and evil, a life and death struggle for good to triumph.
7. Brian McKay & Ahmad Abas St George & the Dragon - aluminium, steel, glass and concrete
This is an abstract yet lyrical response to the competition theme.
Objects appear with multiple associations: the dragon as shade canopy, the cross as manifest light, the light as the Southern Cross.
We wanted this assemblage to function on several layers of meaning and utility, and, of course, as simply compelling objects in themselves.
8. Rodney Munday St George & the Dragon - bronze
My intention is to produce an impressionistic sculpture depicting a life-sized St George with the dragon rising six metres above him.
The arches of its body and wings create an architectural vault, which reflects the architecture of the Gothic Revival cathedral, at the same time casting the shadow of a cross.
Rather than depicting the usual image of St George slaying the dragon, I would wish to create an image of his courageous struggle against a power (in temporal terms) stronger than him; a reflection of George’s martyrdom at the hands of Diocletian in a world where the way of Christ is the way of the cross.
The figure of the saint would be life-sized in order that people should be able to relate to his humanity; and nude, to emphasize his vulnerability and to participate in the Christian-humanist tradition of Renaissance art, which viewed the human body as a symbol of man created in the image of God.
9. James Stewart & Bruce Wolfe St George Triumphant - bronze
We are inspired by the generations of paintings and sculptures of St George and the Dragon.
History tells of a Roman centurion who was put to death for his Christian faith. In recreating a modern interpretation of this story, we wanted to keep the classic elements of horse and rider and combine these with the dragon of today.
Our world has grown so vast and the threats so global that the only weapon we have is faith symbolised by the cross. The composition will lead your eye to the head and eyes of St. George before going up to the cross.
This bold sculpture will make a beautiful addition of the architecture of the Cathedral. The strength of the composition; the craftsmanship is an innate extension of the restored Cathedral. They were made for each other.
10. Joan Walsh-Smith & Charles Smith Transcendence - bronze, stainless steel, mild steel and gold leaf
This concept is inspired by the Dean’s message: ‘Ultimately St George and the Dragon is a symbol of hope for the future, and faith in the transcendence of the human spirit over all that can demean and distort.’
It takes the form of a stylised St George, clad in polished silver armour and great golden cloak, soaring above the vanquished dragon driven back down to the depths of the Underworld, the place of chaos and desolation from whence he emerges into our consciousness, symbolising all that is malevolent.
The killing of the dragon with the golden sword symbolises the conflict between light and darkness, the slaying of the destructive forces of evil and, ultimately, man overcoming his own dark nature and attaining self-mastery. This is dramatically illustrated symbolically, by an LED feature incorporated into the node point of the sculpture, where the tip of the sword meets the tail of the dragon in a powerful explosion of energy.