A key sculpture in Portishead’s public art trail today returned to the town and was installed in its permanent home at the headland of Port Marine.
The ‘Ship to Shore’ sculpture by local artist Jon Buck was originally installed in a temporary location within the marina in 2007, as part of the trail created by local developers Crest Nicholson and Persimmon, in consultation with North Somerset Council. Having been removed over a year ago to make way for planned new homes, the sculpture today took up its rightful place at the lock entrance where it will complete the trail and cast a surveying eye across the Bristol Channel and the stunning Port Marine.
Jon Buck’s sculpture of bronze heads is vibrantly patinated in red with royal blue highlights and stands at four metres high. Creating an imposing impression, the heads represent those ‘who journey’ and those ‘who wait’, and will act as a sentinel at the entrance to the marina. It’s time away from Portishead has been well spent at the world renowned Pangolin Foundry in Gloucestershire, where it has been renovated back to its original glory.
Speaking of the statue’s relevance to Portishead, Jon Buck, said: “The inspiration for this work came directly from the physical and historical context of the dockside in which it is placed. The form of the work reflects the shipping bollards that still exist along the old quayside. Superimposed is a male head looking out to sea and above his female counterpart facing in the opposite direction. This makes reference to the dichotomy that was always present in seafaring communities. Ship to Shore was a type of communications used to connect the two.”
The Port Marine Public Art Programme was a ten year art project begun in November 1999. More than 20 world-class visual artists, as well as some ten local community groups, came together to create public artworks which responded to Portishead’s rich history and heritage.
Robert Stuart Clamp, Director of Continuum Public Arts and consultant, curator and lead artist for the project, commented: “Both physically and ideologically, the public artworks link what was the existing and new Portishead. They celebrate many facets of the town’s history – its people, seafaring, industrial activity and even the famous Portishead radio station – and provide a unique and potent testament to the phoenix-like character of the site. The public art trail provides a cultural legacy that will inspire, educate and entertain generations to come and is frequently used by local schools as a hands-on means of exploring Portishead’s past, present and future.”
Commenting on the re-instatement of the ‘Ship to Shore’ sculpture, Sandra Dixon Sales and Marketing Director from Crest Nicholson, said: “It’s wonderful to see this iconic statue back at Port Marine and providing such a wonderful welcome to arriving boats. The statue has been missed during its time away and I’m sure residents and visitors alike will be delighted to see it back and in such a prominent position from which they can see and enjoy it as they take their stroll around the lockside.”