Brunel 200 Legacy art+power and Arup – Mural at Temple Meads Station.
South West Arts Projects
Bristol Arts Projects
Brunel 200 Events & Activities
Brunel 200 Main Site Spacer
Bristol Arts Projects Overview > art+power and Arup

Heading – Art+Power & Arup

Mural at Temple Meads Station

Twelve months, nine artists, thirty workshops, ten companies, and a lot of hard work!

art+power is a Bristol-based group of artists working together for change. art+power seeks to improve the lives of people who want to be involved in the arts, particularly disabled people. They aim to enable disabled artists to be recognised within the artistic community and by as wide an audience as possible. art+power empowers people to develop their own opportunities and creative aspirations and actively seeks to increase opportunities for disabled people to take part equally in cultural life.

art+power and Arup – Mural at Temple Meads Station.

Photo: Laura Thorne.

art+power artists were inspired by Brunel’s vision and determination. They decided to represent Brunel’s work by creating a mural that would be erected at Temple Meads station as a permanent legacy of his contribution to the life of the city.

art+power proposed to design an artwork that would combine artistry, engineering processes and digital technologies. Artists worked collaboratively with one another, and with commissioned lead artist and sculptor Steve Joyce, over a period of 12 months. They were able to make this happen with lots of assistance from engineering firm Arup, Brunel 200 and from the Station Manager at Temple Meads.

The group began researching Brunel’s life and work and, through a series of workshops, developed drawings and images reflecting on both Brunel’s successes and his occasional disasters. Inspiration for the mural was taken largely from Brunel’s sketchbooks, and the finished piece features recognisable shapes and profiles from Brunel’s Great Western Railway. The mural features plates of aluminium cut into shapes, with images printed onto each plate, and is now a powerful and living memorial to Brunel in the heart of Bristol, visible to thousands of commuters on a daily basis.

The mural, measuring 16 x 4 metres, was unveiled on the weekend of the 16 September 2006, on Platform 1 at Bristol Temple Meads train station, by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. Artists and supporters were present on the day to watch the unveiling, which was accompanied by music from the Brunel Sinfonia at the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum.

Jade West, project co-ordinator, said: "This has been a complex and difficult project, that at times seemed unlikely to succeed’ said Jade West, Project Co-ordinator ‘but the sense of risk, working through the difficulties and overcoming the technical problems has embodied the spirit of Brunel, and made the delivery of this artwork a very Brunellian adventure for all involved."

The project was notable for being one of the largest pieces of public artwork in the South West, as well as for the many companies involved in the fabrication of the artwork and how they all stepped in to volunteer their expertise and resources – art+power’s vision wouldn’t have been realised without this level of sponsorship.

The project was initiated by Severnside Community Rail Partnership, Arup managed the project, whilst Network Rail managed the installation process.

Dave Richmond, Director, art+power, said: "We are delighted that so many companies have chosen to support this high profile project that demonstrates how disabled people can make an important and lasting contribution to the culture of the region."

art+power and Arup – Mural at Temple Meads Station.

Photo: Laura Thorne.

The artists commented:

"Brunel is really special to us. We are really interested in the things he did. I wandered through lots of books finding what Brunel did. He is famous and he did lots of things in Bristol. He was a really strong man, with all the clever ideas, he was thinking in his head all the things he could do with all the men to help."

"We have got the driving force like Brunel. Our driving force is to get our art out there. Our art is strong. We like doing the best work we can. We want to show the people what we can do. They will be amazed when they see it and they’ll want to know who did the work about Brunel."

"We want to help people by making a good picture that everyone can see and find out what Brunel was like."

"We want people to know we are artists working for change. It is hard work getting it all together but we do it as a team, the artists have their own ideas and we put it all together into a great project."

"art+power means my future. We want it to get stronger. We want it to be great in the future because it is our passion and our way of life."

Jonathan Barr-Lindsay, John Vowles and Jack Mundy, artists.


art+power and Arup – Mural at Temple Meads Station.

Photography: Mark Simmons (unless credited otherwise).