The project's been arranged by us and Eastleigh Borough Council. The art will take pride of place in Leah Gardens, a new development of 94 bright and modern homes.
Artist Blacksmith Bex Simon beat strong competition from more than 50 artists, from places as far-flung as Brazil and the USA, to be awarded the popular project.
Inspired by the allotments next to the site, the winning design includes a four-metre high garden fork, with panels showing the surrounding landscape. The artwork will be in a public open space and will hopefully encourage the community to enjoy the area.
“We’re thrilled to have been chosen for this project. When I read the brief, describing the link with the allotments, I was really intrigued to explore an idea around these diverse melting pots of personalities.
To me, allotments have always resembled a patchwork, where individuals make their mark on their own strip of land, so each one says something about its owner. Of course you can also expect a good helping of social politics bubbling away behind the sheds and fences, mixed with elements of escapism and quiet time. I really want to look further into these facets and see what we can dig up!”
As part of the project, Bex, her partner David Harris, and her team of skilled Artist Blacksmiths will work with the local community, new residents and members of the Allotment Association to develop ideas for the artwork.
They’ll also host a special community activity day, open to all, which will include blacksmith demonstrations.
“I always love designing and making art for public spaces, especially when we can get involved with the local communities. It’s great to be able to share our love for our craft with the community.
By bringing our mobile blacksmith forge down and engaging directly with the local community in the design and making process, we hope that we’ll be able to bring people of Eastleigh together by getting involved. We want the local people to feel like it is their art. We hope that people will feel that the artwork represents the new residents, as well as creating a permanent link back to the allotments.”
Cllr Paul Bicknell, Eastleigh Borough Council’s Chair of Eastleigh Local Area Committee, said:
“The new development demonstrates our commitment to investing in affordable housing for the people of Eastleigh. Our goal is to build, not just houses, but new communities with quality housing and public open spaces where people can thrive, prosper and call home.
This public artwork from Bex Simon will contribute to an active open space and will celebrate not only the site’s rich heritage but also its exciting beginnings as a newly forged community.”
Our Head of Development, Julie Porter said:
“We’re really pleased that Bex Simon has won the project. As well as building new homes, we build new communities, meeting the needs of residents, supporting their growth and wellbeing, both now and in the future. And art is a great way to bring a community to life. Bex’s artwork will be a great focal point which will grab the imagination of residents as they walk by.”
Work's due to start this month and it's expected to be in place next January - we can't wait to see it!
We hope that we’ll be able to bring people of Eastleigh together by getting involved. We want the local people to feel like it is their art