South Hill Park

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Craig Titley, Chief Executive attends unveiling of new public sculpture at Bracknell Train Station

July 11, 2019

On Fri 28 Jun, a striking sculpture inspired by Bracknell town’s regeneration project opened to the public and can be seen outside Bracknell train station.

The art, created by Samuel Zealey, was picked by hundreds of people as their favourite piece to adorn the forecourt of the train station as part of the Gateway project, which was run in conjunction with South Hill Park Arts Centre.

More than 900 people voted for their favourite piece during a showcase of different artistic designs at South Hill Park, with Zealey’s creation taking the top spot over 4 other contenders. Voters described it as ‘original’, ‘striking’ and ‘pioneering’, with Zealey stating at the time that he believed it was important to create thought-provoking public sculptures.

The sculpture was installed on Thursday, 22 November, by the artist and his technical team – some planting and landscaping work to complement the sculpture will be carried out in the run up to Christmas. The art work and installation was paid for by developer contributions.

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said:

“The sculpture has now been installed at Bracknell Train Station for residents, visitors and commuters to enjoy. It further adds to the cultural offering of our new town centre.”

The piece entitled ‘Onyo’ sees a layered infrastructure emerging from a bedrock, which appears to reside at ‘tipping point’. With references to a recognisable, well-loved family game, the sculpture is playful and relates to Bracknell primarily through regeneration – the idea of progress (the continuous building of the structure) and a tipping point, leading to a new process of building.

Picture by: Stewart Turkington

Artist Samuel Zealey said:

“I am proud to finally see Onyo a reality for Bracknell’s community to enjoy. I hope over time the piece will become a Bracknell landmark and appreciated by its new home and community.”

The layers represent a visual history as it starts with archaic materials representing Bracknell’s humble beginning as a prehistoric town and develops systematically through the layers to newer materials higher in the structure.

Our Chief Executive Craig Titley was also invited to attend this unveiling saying:

“Great art stimulates discussion and debate – today’s addition to the local landscape will become tomorrow’s masterpiece or treasured heritage. Inevitably we will all respond differently. ‘Controversy is  part of the nature of art and creativity’ – Yoko Ono. Initially I am drawn to the visual familiarity represented in the Onyo statue, but the essence behind the piece, its link to Bracknell, the materials used and sense of time and belonging adds to our understanding and enjoyment of the work.”

Catherine Cooke, Senior Curator at South Hill Park, added:

“For me, the sculpture Onyo invites us to reflect on the natural environment and area heritage whilst also acknowledging human innovation. It is this precarious balance between the two which leads us to contemplate and what better space to do this than at the beginning or end of a journey.”