In a rare example of a public artwork being donated to a child, a life size bronze statue of the little boy in a life jacket has been unveiled by Toronto artist David O’Brien.
The sculpture, created in collaboration with the Ontario Museum of Art, is named “Tiger,” after a mythical tiger found in a stone cave in Siberia.
O’Briens father was a tiger hunter who spent summers in the cave with his mother and three brothers.
The young man was born without any eyes, which O’Malley described as “an unfortunate but rare genetic defect.”
He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in his 20s, and O’Brian said it was the only way he would be able to see the world.
The artist said the painting depicts the son as a young man and his parents as his parents.
“I’ve been working on this project for almost three years,” O’Brogan said, adding he wanted to create a sculpture that would “make people proud of the boy that I am.”
The artist was inspired to paint the sculpture after seeing a news report about a life sized tiger sculpture being donated by a family to a school in the United States.
“Tigers have long been a symbol of conservation, and the boy in this sculpture is a tiger,” Obergens father, Mike Obergen, said in a news release.
“He’s very lucky to be alive.
It’s a rare chance to see an artwork of a child that’s actually alive.”
The sculpture will be on view through March 26 at the Ontario Institute of Technology’s School of Art and Design from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at other locations across the country.
“In this case, we’re not just trying to help a child.
It is the story of a boy,” Obergan said.
“It’s the story that we tell to our kids, and this is a way for us to tell our kids stories.”