No Oz buyers for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s bronze statue

April 9th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Oprah Winfrey Melbourne, Apr 9 (ANI): Late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s bronze statue has failed to interest any buyers in Australia, and it now seems fated to be sold off overseas.

The statue, made by controversial sculptor Mitch Mitchell, will now be offered to Oprah Winfrey and the Discovery Channel to see whether they are interested in buying it.

Mitchell, who is at the centre of an Easter row over his sculpture of a naked young woman on a crucifix, was left bewildered by the lack of Aussie interest in the statue.

“He’s a Melburnian and he’s the most famous Australian there’s probably ever been,” quoted him as saying.

“It should stay in Melbourne. It’s the place of his birth and he deserves to be honoured, but nobody here wants to buy it,” he said.

The 2m clay sculpture, priced at 85,000 dollars, is currently stored at a Richmond studio. It shows Irwin crouching in his trademark khakis and holding a small crocodile.

Mitchell, who is waiting to find a buyer before he does the finishing touches, and cast the statue in bronze, had hoped that Moonee Ponds, where Irwin spent the first eight years of his life, would buy it.

However, Moonee Valley Council rejected the statue last year.

Graeme Smith, who helped Mitchell sell statues, including Don Bradman, said that he spent 12 months trying to find a buyer for the Irwin sculpture.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m bewildered with the lack of enterprise shown. If you put that in a central position, the tourism, particularly from Japan and America, would be huge,” he said.

“We’re talking millions of people. It could be very enterprising and educational,” he added.

Smith said he was negotiating with overseas interests, including Harpo Studios, owned by Irwin fan Oprah Winfrey, but he would prefer the statue stayed in a prominent Melbourne location. (ANI)

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