Posted: Tue 29th Oct 2019

Nine meter high sculpture ‘celebrating’ labourers and craftsmen who built Flint Castle set for River Dee foreshore

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2019

A Bristol-based artist has been chosen to produce an ‘iconic and ‘thought provoking’ sculpture on the banks of the River Dee in Flint.

Award-winning sculptor Rich White has been commissioned to create the artwork which, he says celebrates “the labourers and craftsmen who – some willingly and some forcibly – built Flint Castle.”

Addo, a Wales-based ‘not-for-profit’ arts consultancy, Flintshire County Council and the Welsh Government historic environment service Cadw launched a search to find experienced artists to produce ‘inspirational artwork’ which has a ‘symbiotic relationship’ with the castle.

Rich White was one of 18 artists who submitted work as part of the Flint foreshore regeneration project.

Five artists – including three from North Wales – were shortlisted in March, each were selected due to their “enthusiasm for the brief and ability to work with others in the development and delivery of artworks.”

According to the Welsh Government procurement website – Sell 2 Wales – The Rich White practice has been awarded the £62,000 contract to provide the artwork.

The sculpture, to be positioned on coastal path just north of the Flint Castle, will be made from nearly 300 ‘slender vertical columns’ approximately 9m high.

They will be arranged in a 12 metre by 12 metre square creating a ‘ghost’ circular tower within the cube of columns.

As part of his submission Rich White stated: “My intention with this sculpture is to celebrate the labourers and craftsmen who (some willingly and some forcibly) built Flint Castle and, by extension, were responsible for the creation and growth of Flint as a town. 

My proposal is to create a structure on the coastal path just North of the Castle which echoes it’s dimensions and form, and also recreates the experience of standing inside the towers.

This form will be made of nearly 300 slender vertical columns approximately 9m high.

The columns are arranged in a square measuring 12x12m.

As the columns converge towards the centre they begin to form a circle, eventually creating a 6m diameter circular opening which people can walk through and stand inside.

The effect of this is to create a ‘ghost’ circular tower within the cube of columns.”

The foreshore project will eventually bring an innovative new community hub next to the historic castle site encompassing the football, rugby and social club facilities, a visitor centre and Lifeboat Station.

In 2017 the Welsh Government proposed to install a 30m rusted “ring of steel” sculpture costing around £600,000 on the banks of The Dee Estuary.

The sculpture funded by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales was described as “inappropriate and insulting.”

The ‘ring of steel’ is the description given to the chain of castles across Wales that were built to conquer and subjugate Wales.

A petition calling for the plans to be binned gained thousands of signatures, Ken Skates, the Welsh Economy Minister eventually scrapped the plans.

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