Thursday, September 1, 2022

News: Dramatic contemporary sculpture aims to help Rotherham town centre bloom


An eight metre high sculpture is set to be unveiled later this year in Rotherham town centre, the work paying homage to Rotherham’s rich industrial heritage as well as exploring our relationship with nature and our impact on the environment.

Camellia is a ground-breaking new artwork developed by internationally acclaimed sculptor James Capper. Commissioned by Gallery Town and jointly funded by Arts Council England and local businesses, Camellia is a moving sculpture which will stand at eight metres tall and features petals that react to the movement of light.

The project for the Gallery Town initiative was inspired by the camellia flowers brought to Wentworth Woodhouse in the eighteenth century, some of the oldest varieties known to exist in the UK.

Camellia has been fabricated by apprentices working at Brinsworth-based MTL Advanced Ltd, who have spent more than three months working with James Capper to breathe life into his unique concept.

Throughout the summer, James is inviting children and young people to explore their gardens, local parks and woodland and draw a silhouette or outline shape which has been inspired by the natural world. The designs could be made up of petals, flowers, leaves, trees or even a house plant, with some of the best designs being incorporated into the finished sculpture.

Camellia is the culmination of more than four years’ careful work by Gallery Town to bring a site-specific and thought-provoking contemporary sculpture to Rotherham. An accompanying exhibition is set to take place later in the year at Clifton Park Museum.

James Capper, sculptor said: "My work has often been inspired by nature and explores the relationship between engineering and the natural world in sculptural forms. When I was approached by Gallery Town to produce a unique work for Rotherham, I was fascinated by many of the important contributions the town has made towards shaping the modern world, from the Rotherham plough, which helped to spark the industrial revolution, to the cutting-edge search and development that continues within the borough today.

"I wanted to draw on the town’s rich cultural and industrial heritage and beautiful green spaces to create a sculpture that I hope people visiting, living or working in the town will feel proud."

Nick Cragg, Chairman, Gallery Town, said: “Camellia is, without a doubt, Gallery Town’s most ambitious project to date. We wanted to create a work that would inspire, enthuse and even challenge our perceptions of the world around us, and James’ work certainly fulfils this challenging brief.

An important part of Gallery Town’s work over the past decade has been to give people living and working in Rotherham the chance to become a part of the Gallery Town experience. During that time, we’ve showcased the work of our youngsters, communities and up-and-coming local artists throughout the town. Camellia offers a chance for our young people to make their mark on a truly unique piece of sculpture, which we hope will be enjoyed by people living, working and visiting our town centre for many years to come.

Art can play a vital role in regeneration, and over the past three years our board has been working closely with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Arts Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. It marks the beginning of an exciting new phase of the Gallery Town project and one that not only brings the work of an internationally renowned sculptor to South Yorkshire, but will also help to reinvent the way we think about our town centre.”

The closing date for entries is Friday 23rd September. More details about how to submit entries can be found on the Gallery Town website.

Launched in 2011, Gallery Town’s mission is to rejuvenate and celebrate Rotherham’s cultural history by using art to encourage, inspire and offer opportunities to explore our local community. Since its inception, the project has successfully displayed more than 100 works of art, which can be found in more than 60 locations across Rotherham’s town centre.

Gallery Town website

Images: Lontra


Anonymous,  September 2, 2022 at 9:25 AM  

That's appallingly ugly, hopefully it's not permanent. I don't want to be one of those people who constantly knocks everything they try to do in the town centre but honestly it's one of the worst 'sculptures' I've ever seen.

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