Bug's still life

DON'T try and swat it – it's art!Ipswich's latest piece of public art has been given the go-ahead despite concerns that it bears more than a passing resemblance to a giant bug.

DON'T try and swat it – it's art!

Ipswich's latest piece of public art has been given the go-ahead despite concerns that it bears more than a passing resemblance to a giant bug.

The sculpture of a rower will tower over the banks of the River Orwell.

The brainchild of the River Action Group – it has been compared to a locust and a grasshopper by quizzical councillors.

Councillor Henry Davies, member of the planning committee which have given the project to the greenlight, said: "I approve of the sculpture although it doesn't look like a rower. It looks like a giant locust. What are those bits sticking out meant to be?"

Named Against the Tide the sculpture, created by Butley artist Laurence Edwards, is of a rower battling against the waves.

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It will be erected next to the skatepark at Stoke Bridge and will be made of bronze and steel. Standing on a plinth, on a 9ft high concrete column, it will tower above the river and will mark the beginning of the river walk.

Tom Gondris, chairman of the River Action Group said: "The River Action group got together four or five years ago to improve the environment of the river and the aim is to make the river an interesting place to visit.

"I didn't hear the comments about the sculpture looking like an insect and when people see it from the bridge it will suggest to them an ancient man in a boat and will point to the river.

"I can see how the photograph of the model can, in certain circumstances, look like an insect."

The sculpture's column will bear the words river walk and will be embellished with leaves, animal footprints and will have pieces of weathered wood cast into it.

The idea behind it was to evoke the emotional and physical relationship between man and water and highlight the importance of the river to the development of the town.

Members of Ipswich Borough Council's planning and development committee approved planning permission subject to further details of the column which other councillors feared may not be high enough to prevent vandalism.

In a report to the committee it states: "Not everyone likes every piece of art and it is important to be wary of imposing personal tastes when dealing with applications such as this."

The piece is being funded by the Countryside Agency and the Nationwide Building Society and it is hoped it will complement The Navigator sculpture that stands near Princes Street Bridge.

This is the latest piece of public art in the town with most pieces either prompting love or loathing.

From the beloved frame of Bobby Robson and the Giles statue to the peculiar 'shopping trolley' at Neptune Quay – the statues are anything but ignored.

N What do you think? Does the sculpture look like a bug or a rower? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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