Bruce Armstrong, Tyger, 1984, red gum. Hugh Williamson Emerging Artist Prize, 1984. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat

AGB Kids:

Look closely at the sculpture Tyger by Australian artist Bruce Armstrong.

What shapes and forms can you see in the sculpture?

Look at Tyger’s face – what expression can you see? Is Tyger smiling or growling?

Imagine patting Tyger – how do you think the sculpture would feel? Soft or hard? Rough or smooth?

Inspired by

Bruce Armstrong

Tyger 1984

red gum

Hugh Williamson Emerging Artist Prize, 1984

Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Activity: Animal construction

Draw an abstract landscape with oil pastels

Art element: Form, texture

Art principle: Pattern

What you’ll need

  • Cardboard, such as cardboard roll, egg cartons, cardboard boxes
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Glue stick or sticky tape


  1. Look at the artwork Tyger and think about the animal you would like to construct – what shapes make up the body of the animal?
  2. Use a cardboard roll or box to create the animal’s body.
  3. Attach a head – you could use part of an egg carton or other cardboard packaging.
  4. Cut out cardboard strips for the animal’s legs. Make your strips about 10 cm long and 1 cm wide.
  5. Fold the strips in half and attach to the body.
  6. Add texture to your animal using markers, paint or paper.
  7. You could create another animal using any scraps you have left over. You might even like to create a zoo or invent a new species of animal.

About the artist

Bruce Armstrong is an Australian sculptor, painter and printmaker, best known for his large-scale sculptures. Armstrong uses materials such as red gum timber to carve large figures and animals inspired by tribal totems, objects serving as the emblem of a family or clan, of ancient cultures.

About the artwork

Inspired by the totems of ancient cultures, Tyger is carved from Australian red gum timber. Look closely at Tyger and think about how many pieces of timber make up the sculpture. Tyger is constructed from four separate pieces of red gum: one piece for the head, one piece for the body and a piece for each leg. Armstrong joined the head and body together then used a chainsaw to carve the form of the sculpture. He used the chainsaw to add detail to the sculpture such as the texture of the fur and the pattern of the teeth.

The nose is smoother than the rest of the sculpture. This is because over the 36 years Tyger has been in the Art Gallery of Ballarat, visitors to the Gallery were allowed to touch the sculpture and many of them have patted Tyger on the nose so that the oils on their skin and the friction of patting have worn away the texture over time. This is one reason why visitors to the Gallery are asked to not touch artworks.



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