AICCM Outstanding Conservation Treatment of the Year Award
The award recognises a conservator, or group of conservators, who have undertaken a conservation treatment that has significantly contributed to the conservation field, nationally or internationally, and promoted the profession of conservation and its activities to the wider community.
Commissioned for the Australian Museum (AM) and constructed in 1925 by the artist Rayner Hoff, the model for the life-size sculpture was historical figure and Wiradjuri Elder, Uncle Jimmy Clements.
No longer on display, the plaster sculpture had suffered damage and fragmentation to the lower half of the figure and base, and the conservation treatment involved structural repairs and sensitive cosmetic reintegrations. A plaster sculpture of this age and scale is rare, and OSC undertook extensive research and materials testing, devising a comprehensive treatment methodology in consultation with the AM First Nations Collections & Engagement and Collection Care & Conservation teams. OSC also fabricated a custom-designed stillage for transportation and storage, consulting with its supplier regarding specialised anti-vibration padding for vibration dampening during movement.
The conservation treatment involved initial contact with a descendant of the model’s family, which helped OSC to achieve a culturally as well as aesthetically sensitive result. Parts of the treatment process feature in the documentary ‘Her Name is Nanny Nellie’, which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2023 and will air on NITV in 2024.