Birmingham’s artsy bits…
Our walking tours of the city look at public artworks that are all around us. This page moves us to the east side of Birmingham where public art mixes with graffiti art and industrial architecture in the most exciting way.
Saturday mornings - a walk!
24 hour Walkway to Moor Street (Anuhadra Patel, 2003) Incorporating artistic elements in the city street scene can be so innovative. This walkway becomes a pleasure if we care to stop and take some notice in our busy lives. Anuhadra Patel (1961- ): Moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she continues to practice. See here…..
….looks east
Inside ‘Tempus Fugit’ Aston University Ray Lonsdale, 2004 Located outside Aston University library the weathering of the Corten steel like base and the stainless steel layered head is adding to the attractiveness of this unusual piece. The name invites us to look inside where we find the small child, which alludes to our childhood shaping our adult lives. As Ray said: “No man can fully escape the nine-year old boy he once was”. RayLonsdale (1965- ): A north east sculptor who started as a steel fabricator, and turned to artistic pieces in 2002. Ray’s website is here…
Peace Sculpture, Aston University William Pye, 1985 This was originally placed at the site of the BSA factory which was bombed in 1941. It was recited at the University in 1991 due to lack of maintenance and vandalism at the Acker’s Adventure site in Small Heath. The inverted V forms a structure for sixteen directed jets forming a trellis within the triangle. The water flows at different pressures and Pye suggested this was looking at “different cultures striving to meet in a state of peace and harmony”. As the water pressure drops the flow diminishes to a point of stillness “man’s mortality is evoked”. The Peace Sculpture was an early Pye exploration into using hydrostatic pressure to change the way the water flows. Outlets placed at regular descending positions from a common head see different curves, depending on the pressure at that height as demonstrated in the photo. The Peace Sculpture is the first of ten such hydrostostatic installations shown on William’s website (see here…) William Pye (1938-): See the artist’s website for a huge range of work here….
Tipping Triangles Aston University Angela Connor, 1994 A water feature with stainless steel ‘tippers’ which are fed from the top and one by one offload their contents. Connor suggested that the triangle alluded to the Aston University logo and the aim of the work is to “provide beauty and tranquillity”. Angela Connor, (1935- ): Website here….
Crown Courts Vincent Woropay, 1988 From hewn stone to the final bust, this shows the Chantrey sculpture of James watt as it develops and also in reduction. In his retirement Watt produced a machine to make enlarged or reduced copies. This piece is made from black Indian granite. Watt came to Birmingham to work with Matthew Boulton and lived close by in the Jewellery Quarter. Vincent Woropay (1951-2002): Vincent simply died too young. See more here…….
Old Square Mural Kenneth Budd, 1967 The history of the site of Old Square chronologically told from left to right with key elements including: St Thomas Priory: sold off after the reformation in 1538
Robert Thomas, 1968 The Greek goddess Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera and the wife of Hercules. She had the power to restore youth and vigour. The statue was originally installed in the middle of Holloway Circus and marked the building of the inner ring road. The bronze girl originally lay viewing her own reflection in an oval pool surrounded by a large water feature. Hebe has had several important events in her life. In 1981 she had to be repaired after some vandalism. Worse was to come when in July 2000 Hebe was stolen one night. She was recovered from a garage in Selly Oak in September 2001. For her new position as the Aston University end of Corporation Street she was surrounded with railings produced by Anu Patel. When originally reinstalled the original water features was also placed in position but unfortunately this has now been removed, and this rather loses the sense of her positioning. One of the city’s finest and most important 1960s pieces of public artwork and what a survivor she has been. Hebe deserves at least the occasional clear out of rubbish. The throw away cups, broken glass and worse does not help to maintain eternal youth! It would also be nice if the reflective bowl came back out of storage, and dare we ask for the original water jet as well!
Robert Thomas ( 1926-1999) was a very highly regarded Welsh sculptor with many pieces of public art in Cardiff and South Wales. He was one of the ‘Rhondda Group’. Find out more in this Guardian obituary…
Hebe Corporation Street
All the books I should have read Aston Uni Marko Mäetamm, 2019 A six foot high pile of books in Finnish granite with a few more on the side. Perhaps a little reminder for the science and engineering students at Aston to read some literature as well! The full text reads: “All the books I should have read, but I’ve been doing other things instead. Marko says that: “They are the books I should read now but I still find so many other things to do.” Marko Mäetamm (1965-): Marko’s work has been exhibited all over the world. See website here……
Aston Crosses John Maine, 1970 Geometrical limestone
Wattilisk