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Sculpture Primer Error Causes Costly Rust

Friday, February 24, 2017

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Corrosion on a steel sculpture has led to a hefty repair bill for the government in one Australian territory, and the problem reportedly stems from a failure to apply needed primer when the piece was first installed.

The Toku sculpture stands in Canberra’s Nara Peace Park, a tribute to the Australian capital’s sister city in Japan, Nara. It was designed by artist Shinki Kato, and created in 2010—but a lack of proper coating has led to rapid corrosion and deterioration, reports say.

Primer Problems

The Canberra Times relates that the sculpture rust problem is due to a lack of primer, which has caused the paint on the piece to strip away.

Toku sculpture
Nick-D, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Toku sculpture stands in Canberra’s Nara Peace Park, a tribute to the Australian capital’s sister city in Japan, Nara.

"There does not appear to have been a suitable primer applied to the exterior surface prior to painting and the internal surfaces appear untreated which is in part responsible for the deterioration and current condition,” the newspaper quotes an official condition report as saying.

Additionally, a special decorative paint the artist used may have contributed further to the problem, the paper reports.

"Analysis found the initial decorative paint coating on the sculpture contained a silicon additive used to create a 'hammered' visual effect," a government spokesperson told the Times. “This specialist artistic technique utilized by the artist had unanticipated consequences.”

Not Under Warranty

Because the corrosion problem was discovered outside of the warranty period for the piece, the government of the Australian Capital Territory has been left footing the AU$86,000 ($66,400) bill for repairs.

A pair of restoration companies were hired to address the issue; the sculpture was removed, blasted and recoated to stop the rust and protect the structure, while restoring its original aesthetic as much as possible.

"It was never going to look the same as it did before," Kim Morris, of restoration company Art & Archival told the Times.


Tagged categories: Artists; Australia; Corrosion; Corrosion protection; Design; Primers; Quality Control; Rust; Steel

Comment from Mario Colica, (2/24/2017, 3:02 AM)

Corrosion must be prevented using Zn coating with Zn spraying before painting . Painting alone does'nt solve the problem .

Comment from S.SANKARA NARAYANAN., (2/27/2017, 10:39 AM)

It is an accepted fact or rather a THUMB RULE that any structural painting done should be taken care of with TWO MAJOR ASSPECTS:- PRETREATMENT OF SUBSTRATE; PRIMER APPLICATION. THESE TWO STEPS ALWAYS ENSURE PERFORMANCE OF COATINGS!

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