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Food For Thought In A Field Of Vision

27-01-2007

Far-sighted bosses of the new Morrison's store in Wednesbury are dipping into their pockets to commission some new public art on the site . TheStirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne has been hired as the wordsmith and muses on the value of putting out your ornaments in public.

I'm a great believer that culture and heritage resonate deep within us all. Whether we're running for the bus or taking the family on a shopping trip to the local supermarket, we should still be open to indulge the senses with ‘food for thought'

Many shopping malls, traffic islands and bits of spare land will carry some form of urban art these days but how many of us have questioned its relevance? What story does it tell if anything? How does it add to the spirit of a place?

Well yours truly, Brendan Hawthorne, residential poet in cyberspace for our much loved ‘Stirrer' website is now realising how much thought should and could go into such a project. I have recently been asked to become involved in providing ‘the written word' to accompany a new arena of public art being developed at the Morrison's supermarket site currently under construction in Wednesbury. This project also allows me to work with my favourite public artist, Steve Field, whom I believe has created some of the most beautiful pieces of urban art, including the stainless steel ‘Sleipnir' or Woden's eight-legged steed that leaps so daringly over the skies of ‘Tube Town' from the Metro station at Great Western Street.

Sleipnir

Wednesbury Gt. Western Street Metro Stop

Title: Sleipnir
Artist Steve Field

When the opportunity arose to work on such a project, I realised that Steve is not just an extremely talented artist but one who really ‘takes in' a place and designs with respect to the area in which the installation will be placed. I also have the same feeling I hasten to add. A recent outburst of mine (to a group of people who did listen!) questioned why we rely so heavily upon the image. Why can't there be words of inspiration accompanying artwork? This coupling is not an original idea but the words in many cases, in my view, can appear to be an afterthought or an add-on and not an integral part of the project. I'm determined that this project will interlock the two art forms.

I'm not going to give anything away here about what it will be. All I can say is that the project is extremely exciting and one that I'm proud to be involved in. In this throwaway society we should be thinking about what we leave behind. Not just in landfill sites and carbon emissions, but a legacy of art. What would our days be like without gracious Georgian survivors, high Victoriana, the Baroque and the Gothic?

Our generation should add to the rich and varied tradition of invention that this country and its regions have built upon over the years. We should not be afraid to make our mark at a time when we so desperately need inspiring in a contemporary setting, so I'm doing my bit. Watch this space!

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