Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture

2009 - Jaume Plensa, 'Dream'

The overall 2009 award winner was 'Dream', a 20m high sculpture depicting the head of a young girl with eyes closed in meditation. It is the creation of Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and is constructed on the site of the disused Sutton Manor Colliery at St Helens. The material used is a concrete aggregate mixed with sparkling white Spanish dolomite.

Commissioned by former miners and St Helens Council as part of Channel 4’s Big Art Project, this 400 tonne sculpture, which is highly light reflective even on a dull day, is the artist’s response to the miners’ desire for a work that expressed the future of their community and landscape.

Jaume Plensa says that his sculpture is about celebrating life and the human experience; of standing between past and present, present and future, knowledge and ignorance.
Dream was inspired by the spectacular setting, the local heritage, a vision for the future and the warmth, humour and passion of the former miners.

A further three works were also recognised for this year’s Award.

Perceval, by Sarah Lucas; a 2.3m tall dray horse pulling a cart of squash, which is situated in the grounds of Waddesden Manor. It is both an homage to, and satire of, English culture. Perceval represents a giant replica of a popular ornament which has adorned many mantelpieces in Britain. Lucas plays with scale, rendering the cement (a favourite material) vegetables almost equal in size to the high finish of the painted bronze Shire horse.

Secondly, The Lion, unveiled in April 2009 on the corner of Wardour Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, and representing the traditional Chinese symbol of greeting and guardianship, was created by two Royal College of Art graduates, Hsiao-Chi Tsai from Taiwan and Kimiya Yoshikawa from Japan. Approximately 3m high, The Lion is made from Perspex, Jesmonite, fibreglass and steel. In the words of David Tse Ka Shing of Chinatown Art Space (organisers of the commission from Shaftesbury plc), it is ‘a vibrant, playful, modern interpretation of a traditional East Asian icon…a striking addition to Chinatown’s increasing public artwork’.

The third award was given for the restoration of the Grade I listed monument to George III on the Esplanade at Weymouth, recognises the continuing role for sculpture 200 years after its erection in 1809, proving the longevity of Coade stone, the pioneering process created by Eleanor Coade. The award goes to Chris Daniels PACR and Osirion Building Conservation who reflect the commitment of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in maintaining this key feature of the historic seafront.