A huge metal sculpture that sat in the middle of Cardiff during the 1970s is coming back to the city.
In 1972 the large black sculpture was placed on The Hayes in the city centre for six months.
Influential artist Garth Evans created the piece as a symbol of the area’s mining history.
At the end of the six months the sculpture was relocated to Leicestershire where it has been unseen by the public for more than four decades.
But now, after Chapter Arts Centre raised the more than £16,000 needed, the sculpture is coming back to Cardiff.
The money will now be spent on restoring the “rapidly deteriorating” sculpture and returning it to the city.
Chapter Arts Centre deputy director Hannah Firth said: “This project is not just about rescuing and relocating an historically significant work of art, it’s also about the power that art has to transform our civic spaces and to shape the opinions of future generations.”
The sculpture will now be restored before being transported back to Cardiff and lifted in to place using a crane.
Ms Firth said the sculpture will be located as close as possible to the original site. She said: “We are completely delighted and can’t thank our funders enough. It’s a really public project where people have come together to get it back in Cardiff.”
The people behind the initiative hope to have the sculpture in place in April.
The St David’s shopping centre look after the area on The Hayes and general manager Steven Madeley said: “We’re really pleased to hear the news that Chapter Arts Centre has reached the crowdfunding goal to bring the Garth Evans sculpture back to Cardiff and we look forward to working with them to bring the famous sculpture back to the city centre.”
The morning after the sculpture was installed on The Hayes in the 1970s Evans anonymously recorded the comments of passers-by without telling them who he was.
A play based on the recordings is set to be created bu Everyman Theatre as part of the project.
This is how some people responded
“I wish there were a hundred more like it.”
“It’ll dawn on me some day. But then, at that point, I’ll have different interpretations, according to my moods, you see, and I’ll work at this – because it’s provocative.”
“It’s just art, is it?”
“It’s a work of a man who has put his life into it!”
“There’s not much beauty in it. I can’t see no beauty at all in that.”
When the work returns to the city Evans will again record the reactions and comments of passers-by to see how views might have changed.
The sculpture will be part of an exhibition of his work launching in May 2019.
Chapter Arts Centre said once the six-month project is finished the sculpture will be gifted to Wales by Evans and relocated in a permanent home “visible to the public”.
Evans chose Cardiff as the location for his work as it was the birth place of his grandfather.
He said: “My mother grew up in the small mining village of Pencoed and my grandfather and my mother’s brothers were coal miners in the region.
“As a child I spent summers in south Wales and I vividly remember listening to my uncles and other men talk of their lives underground, in the dark – stories of accidents and escapes, of disasters and loss, and of the long bitter strikes.
“I wanted to make something that I felt had a connection to the coal mining and steel-making industries of south Wales but was careful never to describe it as a monument or memorial.
“I wanted to find a very graspable form that would have the presence of something functional, like a tool, a hammer, say.”
The sculpture was one of 17 works placed in eight cities across England and Wales in 1972 with many sold or destroyed afterwards.
Born in Manchester, Evans has exhibited across the world at several top museums.
He added: “I want it back in a place where the general public in south Wales will interact with it on a daily basis in the belief that it will come to be regarded as symbolic of the strength, courage and unity of the men and women in the valleys who worked in the mines and in the steel mills there.”
A total of £16,615 was raised by more than 150 funders during the crowdfunding campaign.
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