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.
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
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
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."
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
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."
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."
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.
Photography: Mark Simmons (unless credited