Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture

This Award is run in partnership with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) and celebrates excellence in contemporary sculpture.

The Award recognises the best sculpture or monument installed within the last two years in a public space, enabling people to engage with this art form.

Nominations for the Award go through a number of stages of judging by a panel consisting of specialists in the field.

The shortlist for the 2015 Award can be seen here:

The 2015 winners are Sir Antony Gormley for 'Room' and Douglas Jennings for 'Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC'

'Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC' by Douglas Jennings

‘Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC’ is the latest work by Douglas Jennings and is sited in St Andrew’s Gardens in Gravesend to commemorate and celebrate all those who volunteered to serve Britain during various military campaigns between 1914 and 2014. Squadron Leader Pujji is one of the 2.5 million servicemen who came from the Indian subcontinent, the largest volunteer army in history and in 1940 he was one of 18 qualified Indian pilots who volunteered for the Royal Air Force. He had a distinguished career in World War Two flying and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.

Douglas Jennings was chosen as the artist for this work from a shortlist of four prominent sculptors. He said of the sculpture that “Pujji is a fabulous representation and example of those who gave up everything to fight for Britain and the Commonwealth. He is a shining example, completely right to represent all those who fought. Douglas spent six months making the sculpture and researching the fine detail of the uniform and even Pujji’s turban. He said: “During the sculpting process, I was advised by a number of experts including Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE DL, RAF (Retd), an RAF pilot for 33 years, on all aspects of uniform, even down to the King’s crown on each. Researching the turban was fascinating; I learnt how to tie the turban Pujji wore from Mr Jagdev Virdee. Pujji tied his in a distinct way with six folds and a high peak. It was paramount that I got that right”.

'Room' by Sir Antony Gormley

‘Room’ is the latest work by Sir Antony Gormley and is a huge sculpture of a crouched figure that doubles up as a luxury hotel room, located on the side of the Beaumont Hotel. The 4 metre-square, 10 metre-high interior is fitted out in dark fumigated oak and the only furniture is a bed. The room also has black-out blinds and so can be plunged into complete darkness.

Sir Antony said of the piece, “What we see on the outside is, in a way, a spectacular landmark in the manner of a brutal body described in the language of architecture; but in its interior is a very different manner of sculpture which is actually about forming experience.” ‘Room’ is located 200 metres from Oxford Street and is “essentially a cave that is completely withdrawn”, he said of the work that he wanted it “to be both in the city but absolutely removed from it, giving a feeling of enclosure within and exposure without”.

Pictured above: 'Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC' (top) and 'Room' (bottom)