Trophies have an unusual history ranging from ancient military conquests through to today's mass-produced cups and statuettes. Trophies were originally collective rather than singular items: trophies were large, often jumbled collections of war booty, displayed in public to celebrate the might of a victorious general. Through proliferation, the idea of the trophy has been cheapened and even rendered negative. Where once a trophy was a token honouring exemplary achievement, the word is now used in a sneering way. David Ray's collection of small, roughly modelled trophies calls attention to the values underpinning a championship performance. They have the classic shapes of the traditional winner's cup, and none of the jarring geometry of today's modern, sculptural trophies. He suggests that sport belongs to the worthy. The trophies do more than declare a triumph; the anthropomorphic ceramics act out the process of becoming a champion. This narrative traces the passage from challenge, through endeavour and ordeal, towards triumph and self-realisation.


  • Title: Champion (detail)
  • Creator: David Ray
  • Date Created: 2010
  • Rights: Courtesy of the artist
  • Medium: aluminium, glass, porcelain, glaze, gold, decals, plastic

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps