Latest addition to Harlow sculpture collection unveiled in town park

Entertainment / Tue 21st Nov 2023 at 10:36am

THE latest addition to Harlow Sculpture Town collection was unveiled on Saturday afternoon.

Members of the artistic community gathered by the cycle path that crosses the Harlow Town Park to mark the placing of Minerva at the heart of the park.

YH spoke to sculptor Irena Posner about her work and the journey from idea to unveiling of her remarkable work.

Harlow has a proud tradition of placing contemporary sculpture in public spaces for the whole community to enjoy.

The commission was part of the Harlow Art Trust’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations and it is the 108th in the town’s remarkable collection of public artworks which includes pieces by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin. 

Irena Posner is the Harlow Art Trust’s 7th Sculpture Town Artist In Residence (STAIR07).  She started carving in May at the Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust before the stone was moved to Harlow Town Park in June. Over the course of the next month Park visitors enjoyed the opportunity to watch Irena work. The process of making the sculpture on-site was inspired by Harlow Sculpture Town’s first public commission by Mary Spencer-Watson who carved ‘Chiron’ outside Moot House in The Stow, Harlow in 1953. 

The sculpture connects the narratives of Chiron and the enduring legacies of Harlow’s Celtic and Roman past. The 8ft owl form with human feet perched on a log draws on the discovery of a fragment of a Roman statue depicting Minerva whose sacred companion was an owl. It is through this connection to the goddess, that the sculpture speaks to feminine subjectivities and embraces the goddess’s virtues of wisdom and artistry.

Between her work on her sculpture Irena brought traditional sculpture-making to Harlow through a community focussed stone carving project. From April to September, she ran a series of workshops for schools and the local community offering an introduction to sculpture and relief carving in Portland stone. Her exhibition We return to our strange life of stone’ at the Gibberd Gallery, features carvings made by schools and members of the Harlow community. It also illustrates the story of the creation of ‘Minerva’.

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12 Comments for Latest addition to Harlow sculpture collection unveiled in town park:

2023-11-21 12:10:10

Really wish you had published when it was being worked on, to see the process in advance of its unveiling would have been good and a bit more inclusive for the general public….opportunity missed now it’s all over.😒

2023-11-21 18:21:11

I've seen this gradually evolve in the park. Lovely piece of work, well done.

2023-11-21 21:05:02

It's a hoot.

Crazyhorse 74
2023-11-21 21:42:28

Give it a week till someone wrecks it.

2023-11-21 23:12:34

I tried to post a similar comment Crazyhorse but used the word scvm which stopped it appearing. So much for free speech. Anyway, lovely sculpture but I fear for it, being placed where it is by and being attacked by some scvm.

2023-11-22 10:21:34

All well and good if we could truly afford such luxuries in today's financial climate. This is no doubt money that could have been better spent on the more essential things needed in the town. :( I bet this post gets removed too as it would be deemed negative to YH moderators !!

2023-11-22 10:57:56

Hi Darren. The sculpture was funded by a mixture of the Arts Council (central gov't), Essex Arts Trust, Harlow Art Trust (both charities), the Royal College of Art and Pearson publishing as part of their community outreach work. Our wellbeing, children's ideas of what they can do in their life, pride in a place can all be positively affected by public art. In today's financial climate we still need these things. Believe it or not, Harlow does not receive it's proportional share of tax or lottery-spender's money on art or culture. We should be arguing for more, not less!

Gary Scott
2023-11-22 12:59:30

It's all lovely, but I'd rather see a tree with real owls in it

2023-11-22 15:32:49

Thanks to the park staff for making the arena tidy Keeping the park looking good They are always over looked !!

2023-11-22 22:39:16

We have a great town park and this is a really lovely addition. We should all be proud.

Ian McNaught
2023-11-25 15:51:34

I agree with Rob , pity we had not been notified that this sculpture was being worked on . As it would have been very interesting to see how it developed into the finished article.

Saturday 18th November 2023 – Unveiling of ‘Minerva’ Sculpture – (Re)Telling the New Town Story:
2024-01-17 18:08:24

[…] our local newspaper did a lovely write up following the unveiling, which can be found here: https://www.yourharlow.com/2023/11/21/latest-addition-to-harlow-sculpture-collection-unveiled-in-tow… as well as an interview with sculptor Irena Posner about her […]

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