See also: Community Sculpture Unveiled
Weekends on the estates off Bermondsey Street (London SE1) rung with the sound of chisels on stone, as local residents and passers-by discovered new passions and thrilled with the opportunity to sculpt in stone. Austin pioneered the award-winning Leathermarket Community Sculpture Project allowing him to explore ‘direct spontaneous sculpting’ as a process through public collaboration.
In order to explore this process further, Austin chose to invite anyone and everyone to sculpt individual pieces. “These pieces are so rich. They hold within them the feeling, emotion and personality of the people who created them as well as the social experience enjoyed during their making. Their work is the socially-engaged fabric that I use, by piecing together the fragments, to create permanent public site-specific sculptures. This process sets in stone the chisel chops, cuts and marks which embodies the collective expression of the community”.
His previous public collaboration, held on Tyers Estate in October 2012 resulted in an unparalleled and enthusiastic response with the creation of 100 ‘fragments’ of unique sculptures. The finished 2.5 tonne monument made using those fragments, titled ‘The Shared’ was unveiled on Tyers Estate within a new garden setting designed around the sculpture on the entrance to the estate from Bermondsey Street.
The second series of workshops were across Bermondsey Street on Whites Grounds Estate, and took up four weekends in October 2013. Again, participants created with enthusiasm and open-minds, coming from all walks of life, and all ages. Austin says: “This is engaging social connectivity and collective creativity to stimulate the artistic sensibility through physical labour by working the stone as direct sculpture. Each piece has individual sculptural merit, and they are also fragments of a bigger sculpture, as yet unknown. Through careful and laborious assemblage, they will all become part of one collective mass, forming a monument to this process and representing all contributors”.
Austin will assemble all the stone-sculpted works into a permanent artwork for Whites Grounds Estate to be unveiled in 2014.
The Leathermarket Community Sculpture Project was awarded ‘Best Community Arts Project 2013‘ by SAF (Southwark Arts Forum).
We REEEALY enjoyed it. Thank you very much for making it happen. My kids and I absolutely loved the opportunity to join in and feel proud of our creations. I would like to thank you again for your help and guidance.
I’m still buzzing with excitement over this rare opportunity! See you next weekend.
I…have been looking at sculpture recently with fresh eyes for inspiration as well as immense admiration for skill and artistry.
I can’t wait to see the community assemblage unveiled. I think what you’re doing is brilliant.
About Bermondsey Square Community Fund
The Bermondsey Square Trust collects money from the occupiers and owners of Bermondsey Square through the occupiers’ leases and grants awards for ‘The marketing animation and promotion of the Bermondsey Square Estate and making a positive contribution to the wider neighbourhood and community of Bermondsey.’About the Community Fund