Harlow residents invited to have their say on sculpture designs

Entertainment / Fri 19th May 2023 at 09:24am

HARLOW residents are invited to have their say on the sculpture designs proposed by Irena Posner. Irena Posner is the current Sculpture Town Artist In Residence. She will be working on a large stone carving over the summer in Harlow Town Park. She has proposed two designs and these are on display in the Gibberd Gallery, Civic Centre, CM20 1WG from 15 – 20 May.

Irena graduated from Royal College of Art in 2022 with a Masters in Sculpture and was awarded the 2023 Harlow Sculpture Town Artist in Residence STAIR). She was the recipient of the Gilbert Bayes Sculpture Award in 2021 and shortlisted for the Kenneth Armitage Award in 2022. She has undertaken residencies in Carrara, Italy; Weymouth, England, and most recently completed a 6-month carving residency at the University of East London. Her works are held in permanent collections including The Odunpazari Modern Museum, Turkey and Fondazione Benetton, Italy. 

Irena says “My work is defined by my interest in the memory of stone and how the hand relates to material. I primarily work with limestone and marble. Carving by hand is a function of knowledge that sculpture possesses by opening the space between object and body, and bringing to light the ritualistic connections between stone and landscape. I like the spontaneity of direct monolithic carving looking for playfulness, accident and humour to explore feminine subjectivities, ritual and immortality embodied in animal forms and situated bodies.”

Over recent months Irena has made a series of visits to Harlow. Through her meetings with many people and animals she has come up with the 2 contrasting design proposals for a large scale stone carving in Portland Stone. Harlow residents are invited to come to the Gibberd Gallery from the afternoon of Monday 15 May to Saturday 20 May to see her proposals and maquettes and to share their comments on them. 

There are two proposals. First entitled ‘New Pastures’ is of a Llama. On her first trip to Harlow Irena came across a pair of Llams grazing in a field. She sees the way the Llamas have adapted to life in the Town Park as a symbol of resilience abd forging new identities. Her second design ‘Owl’ connects with the story of Chiron, mythical tales, and the enduring legacies of Harlow’s Celtic and Roman past. The resulting sculpture is an owl with human feet purchased on a long. The sculpture ‘Chiron’ was created in 1953 by Mary Spencer Watson in Portland Stone, it is located outside Moot House in The Stowe and was the first sculpture to be created for a specific location in the New Town. Mary famously parked her caravan outside Moot House and emerged each day to carve directly into the stone.

Irena will be starting work on one of the designs at the Portland Stone Trust Quarry in Weymouth in the w/b 22 May. She will then be coming to Harlow in late June and will be carving in situ in Harlow Town Park for much of the summer.

Irena says “Both sculpture proposals speak to Harlow’s history and its connection to nature. I’m curious to see how people will respond to and vote on the designs which are on display at the Gibberd Gallery this week. The actual sculpture will be approximately 8ft in height.  As I carve the sculpture over the summer, I will be running a series of stone carving workshops in Harlow Town Park giving members of the public an opportunity to learn about carving and also see how the sculpture evolves.” 

Irena’s residency has been made possible by the continue support of Pearsons Education and the Royal College of Art for our STAIR programme. Her community residency at the Harlow Town Park is being additionally supported with a Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England. Irena will also be working in a number of schools as part of ‘Our Community Our Environment’ with thanks to Harlow Creates and the Essex Arts & Cultural Fund.

The Gibberd Gallery is open 11am-4pm, Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays and Bank Holidays. Entrance is 

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5 Comments for Harlow residents invited to have their say on sculpture designs:

Gary fuller
2023-05-19 12:30:25

The people of harlow would rather have the roads and paths repaired than bloody sculptures.

Harlow Gooner
2023-05-19 15:28:59

Sculptures again eh? Bishopsfield has a bit of one left. The headless family are now restored. The Staple Tye one (oppo mcds) no longer bears the C word. The Hollyfield one still used as a parking bay. The one that aint there, just the name plate. Good luck.

David Forman
2023-05-20 06:08:36

Perhaps we could have a tarmac sculpture similar to the one on the roundabout near Asda's in Dagenham, but in the shape of a doughnut with lots of holes in it representing the potholes in our roads. I'm sure some tarmac gangs could knock it up on the cheap.

2023-05-20 09:11:28

Oh my word what will you come up with next. Every thing Harlow council does or thinks of is like kinder garden children's club. Think you all need to go as you really have some weird stupid wasteful ideas. How long do you think these sculptures will really last before they are damaged by the holligans of Harlow!! And yet more money wasted. Harlow council don't seem to fix one thing before they are running with another ridiculous idea. Do the things that need to be done first like our roads still full of potholes & the pavements.

Mel Page
2023-09-03 18:52:23

I'm saddened by these comments, but not entirely surprised. Just because some of the population treat sculpture as a target it doesn't follow that we shouldn't try to rise above mindlessness. Having worked a week in the portland quarry myself, I can appreciate the work in this sculpture. I hope that when it is erected it it's home people will reward the artist with well earned admiration.

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