Getting excited about a roundabout…
Pelham Roundabout is on the seafront in Hastings, more or less on the border between Hastings Old Town and what is referred to as the New Town – basically the shopping centre, with a sterile mall and some struggling High Street chains. It is edged on one side by a car park on the front, on another by an Italian restaurant and on the third by a branch of Iceland and an office block called Aquila House – Aquila being pronounced by the locals to rhyme with Godzilla, writes Antony Mair.
We heard a few months ago, from a neighbour who works with the local council, that the Fairlight Arts Trust, established by David and Sarah Kowitz, was putting up £100,000 for the refurbishment of the Pelham Place roundabout, which is at present a sterile feature with an undersized fountain. It was then pointed out by some bright spark that this was all a waste of money since, as a result of the pedestrianisation of one of the roads that used to come into the roundabout, the roundabout was superfluous, and I wondered whether the scheme would go ahead, or whether the roundabout would just be suppressed.
It now transpires, not only that the roundabout is to go ahead, but that the amount contributed by the trust is £120,000. What is more, the roundabout is to be transformed into an iconic artwork. Ho-hum, I thought cynically. Then I read that the panel deciding what form the refurbishment would take included the artists Michael Craig-Martin and Gavin Turk. Now Michael Craig-Martin is important not only because of his own work but also because of his time at Goldsmiths’ College in London, when he was a significant influence on what are now known as the YBA, Young British Artists. This loose group included Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and – from the Royal College of Art – Gavin Turk.
This is more like it, I thought. Two artists have been shortlisted for the project: the Brazilian artist Saint Clair Cemin and the younger British artist Henry Krokatsis. Of the two, Krokatsis would probably be the more revolutionary choice, but both possibilities are exciting. The designs of both are being unveiled for public view from March 8 to 10, and I now can’t wait to see what they’re proposing. It looks as if Hastings is, once again, going to be in the news for its art!
Republished from ‘Postcards from Hastings’ with the kind permission of Antony Mair.
A mobile exhibition van will be set up to view the shortlisted prize-entries as follows:
Friday 8 March 2013 – at Pelham carpark on the seafront 10-4pm
Saturday 9 March 2013 – Robertson Street outside Debenhams 10-4pm Sunday 10 March 2013 – Stade Open Space 10-4pm
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