Memorial to the Pearl Diver
The Artists aim in creating this sculpture was to capture the 'essence' of the subject, as it were. For instance, very few people have ever actually seen a Hard-Hat Pearl Diver at work on the Ocean floor.
The Artists undertook extensive research through historical archives to establish a truly representivite image of a working Hard-Hat Pearl Diver. They would particularly like to thank Steve Arrow of Arrow Pearling Company, not only for his individual expertise and advice but also the loan of extremely rare original equipment which was used for important reference.
The Diver is shown as he would be, while being towed along the sea bed by the Pearling Lugger to which he is attached by a rope. This meant that the diver travelled in the typical tilted-forward angle shown. The pressure at depth meant that the diving suit was 'collapsed' onto the divers legs in heavy folds, while the pressurised air in the suit tended to inflate the upper body thus lending a top-heavy look to the figure. For obvious reasons this rope could not be shown extending up above the divers helmet. The same is true for his air hose
The Diver is captured at the moment in which he has just straightened up and is placing pearl shell into his bag. While some Divers wore gloves, the Artists elected to make a feature of the hands which tended to develop a distinct 'gnarled' - arthritic look as a consequence of years of exposure to the dreaded 'bends'.
The helmet is sculpted completely in bronze without glass 'port-holes'. There are various reasons for this, principally the Artists felt that they should not feature the actual head of a particular Diver inside the helmet since it would mean selecting an image of one ethnic group. It was felt that it would be more appropriate to create an anonymous 'Unknown Hard-Hat Pearl Diver' representing all the Nationalities involved historically.
Finally, one of the sculptors has personal first hand experience of diving in a Hard-Hat suit. This enabled him to impart an additional emotional level of expression and identity to the final sculpture.