Once a statue or thangka is consecrated (rab-nay), at least in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it should be treated as the Buddha or whatever Deity it represents in person. It is no longer a lifeless statue. In fact, it's no longer a statue at all. This means acting in front of the image (ku-tsab) as if you are in the same room/space as the Buddha/Deity. This is a hugely powerful skillful means for developing mindfulness and virtuous behavior, but it's not necessarily easy to maintain.
Good luck and best wishes.