Sri-Lankan born Dr Chellapah is well known in the international community for working as a volunteer dental surgeon.
Dr Chellappah, says he feels so blessed from what life has offered him and is always seeking different ways to give back to the community. For the University, he has made an extraordinary gift of art, which stands for the personal values that have provided him with strength in his life’s journey.
“This country has provided my family with a sense of security, belonging and hope,” said Dr Chellappah.
"University students have inquiring minds, and it is hoped that with periodic exposure to this sculpture, they may think about identifying and attaining goals with principles.”
The University delightfully accepted Dr Chellappah’s idea to commission a sculpture for the campus. The concept needed to explore the themes of truth, non-violence, love and peace. The artist chosen to ;create the work was Geoffrey Drake-Brockman, a cybernetics artist specialising in large-scale public installations. Drake-Brockman has exhibited nationally and internationally and is personally fascinated by stories about ‘made beings’ such as Pinnochio, Coppelia and Frankenstein. He also commonly uses reflective or mirrored surfaces, just as he has for this sculpture. “This inclusion is deliberate, as I see every created being as a kind of mirror.”
Titled ONE, the sculpture is a self-supporting triangulated structure that splits into three twisting arms of stainless steel that join at both the top and bottom ends. It includes a mirror polished surface, with a red interior that references the ochre of central Australia and the colour of blood.
Engineering the huge artwork took a year to execute, and in mid-November 2019, the sculpture was officially installed on campus at the University after making its way from Perth.
“The mirrored exterior reflects back on people. The idea of being part of a work, of being implicated in the work and part of the composition leads to a notion of accountability and responsibility. We’re here as active participants of the system, we can’t just slip by without being involved.”
Previous Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, Professor Deep Saini, said the generosity of Dr Chellappah will ensure those in the University community, and the wider Canberra community will enjoy and reflect on the values the sculpture represents.
“ONE is intended to speak to values for living: truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence. This is a direct association with the University’s vision of building a safe and respectful campus community,” said Professor Saini.