Sculptor Louis Pratt, who grew up in the national capital, has donated a major piece to the National Arboretum Canberra, saying the work, Backwards Attitude, is a political statement.
The 44-year-old Sydney-based artist, who attended Telopea High and Narrabundah College and later studied sculpture at the Australian National University, said the sculpture he was donating had been valued at $70,000.
"I wanted to donate to the arboretum," he said.
"I think this will be of special civic significance in the landscape of Canberra, if not the nation.
"It's already starting to gather a great collection of work and I wanted to put my hand up and be a part of it."
National Arboretum Canberra Foundation chair John Mackay said it would be the start of a sculpture walk at the arboretum, a kind of permanent Sculpture by the Tree, like the temporary coastal installation Sculpture by the Sea, giving people another reason to visit the arboretum.
"We want to appeal to as broad a base of visitor as possible," Mr Mackay said.
The sculpture was put in place on Friday under the guidance of artsACT which manages the public art at the arboretum. It is on the right-hand side of Forest Drive as motorists approach the visitors' centre. It had also been exhibited at Floriade.
Pratt said Backwards Attitude was made from cold cast aluminium and weighed a couple of hundred kilos, essentially a lumbering middle-aged man dressed up as a teenager.
"In a lot of ways it's a political artwork," he said.
"It's probably even more topical now than when I made it . Everyone can sort of tell what needs to be done in the world but there's this politically backward attitude going on and I wanted to make a large work as a statement.
"He's bent over into a ridiculous position, but defiant. So defiantly in a ridiculous position. So there's this stubbornness. And that's this backwards attitude."
Pratt is the son of Blanche d'Alpuget and Tony Pratt and step-son of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke. His 87-year-old stepfather liked to have the occasional political discussion with him.
"He's always concerned about Australia," Pratt said.
"We have robust conversations. He's extremely intelligent and perceptive, sharp as a tack, even though he's turning 88 this year. He's in good nick."
Pratt grew up in Kambah, long before his mother married Hawke, and returned to Canberra to study sculpture at the ANU in his mid-20s.
"I didn't actually do art at Narrabundah, that's one of the odd things," he said.
"It was only when I was about 21 I started making art. I was like, 'Oh, wow. I actually enjoy this'.
"And by the age of 22, I'd already been exhibited in lots of institutions around Australia and been picked up by a commercial gallery. And then by 24, thought, 'Oh, I better go and study'. I was pretty naive."
Mackay welcomed the addition of the latest sculpture saying it was a generous donation.