New 'spatula' art will make tongues wag

Is it a giant lollypop stick…or a huge spatula on wheels? Whatever you make of it, this striking new sculpture on Ipswich's riverside is certain to become one of the town's most talked about landmarks.

IS IT a giant lollipop stick…or a huge spatula on wheels?

Whatever you make of it, this striking new sculpture on Ipswich's riverside is certain to become one of the town's most talked about landmarks.

The £30,000 sculpture, which is the brainchild of the Ipswich River Action Group, will be put in place in May alongside the River Orwell in West End Road, Ipswich.

The 16-foot contemporary sculpture is the work of London-based artist John Atkin, whose work currently dons galleries in Venice, New York and Chicago.


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The sculpture, which will be made from either cast iron or corten steel, has been christened The Navigator because of the prominent position it will occupy on the local skyline.

Mr Atkin said: "The design is a happy marriage between my own professional background and the site's history as an industrial area. I wanted to come up with something original because it would be too obvious to just make a big sculpture of a machine.

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"The site needs to be developed into a place that is used and I'm confident this will help it be activated in a way that will benefit the people of Ipswich."

The project has been funded through a £26,560 grant from the National Lottery, with the remainder funded by Ipswich Borough Council.

Pauline West, of the council, said the area had been identified in 1998 as needing development.

A cycle path is already in place between the Princes Street bridge and West End Road as part of plans to invigorate the area.

Mrs West said: "We are very pleased with the sculpture and it is on a good site – being so close to the cycle path. It will be visible from a long distance and we hope it will be a success."

Mr Atkin was one of four artists to be interviewed for the task of designing the sculpture by the Ipswich River Action Group.

Tom Gondris, chairman of the group, said: "We spent quite a lot of time on the selection process and we are pleased with the design. It has to be as vandal proof as possible because it will be in an isolated area."

WEBLINK

www.johnatkin.net

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