CoolTan Arts unveils first public sculpture commission on Camberwell Green

Last Saturday Camberwell welcomed its newest artwork, an intrepid and responsive piece by accomplished sculptor Rossen Daskalov on behalf of CoolTan Arts.

bench_03Sited on the North East corner of Camberwell Green, the sculptural bench is an important landmark for CoolTan Arts and for the local community. Made from oak timber, the design is based on the theme of reconnecting, with each other and with nature. The timely unveiling of the sculpture comes just before Mental Health Awareness week 2012 and aims to create a place of calm contemplation for local people.

Present at the event were Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle, who formally unveiled the bench, Cllr Norma Gibbes and Cllr Kevin Ahern, alongside a good turnout of local residents and CoolTan Arts participants.

Rossen Daskalov said of the work, “I wanted the bench to stand as an object, a form and an image and its sculptural qualities to reflect the integrity of CoolTan Arts. Essential to this interrelation is how the tensions of the form were resolved in the material. The durability of the oak relates to being able to withstand storms. As a bench on Camberwell Green these trees will remind the community of how the energies of CoolTan artists grow in the creative soil of CoolTan Arts.”

The sculpture forms part of the CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle Trail, CoolTan’s participant led, flagship wellbeing public walking project, taking place in Southwark on the third Saturday of every month. The bench is the first of ten permanent public sculptures CoolTan Arts will commission to mark the route of the walk.

Saturday’s ceremony formed part of CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle Mayday walk which concluded at the green. Attendees were entertained with an impromptu Maypole Dance by the walkers and poetry readings by CoolTan Arts poets. Alongside the sculpture, messages of positivity were tied to a Ginkgo Tree, planted by CoolTan Arts to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2011.

Cllr Dixon-Fyle said of the event, “The first part of this amazing project was the planting of the Gingko tree. The second part is this wonderful symbolic installation, which celebrates humanity and the people who use mental health services in the area to show they matter and that we care.”

Michelle Baharier, CEO and Founder of CoolTan Arts said of the commission, “Six years in the making, CoolTan is thrilled to be able to present the sculpture today to the people of Camberwell. CoolTan Arts wish to open up dialogue about mental health which affects 25% of the population nationally and is 17.5% higher in Southwark. The conception of this couch on the green was to bring mental health to the forefront of people’s consciousness, to de-stigmatise and enable people to get support before crisis. Prevention is better than cure!”

The sculptural commission has been made possible by £10,000 of funding awarded by Camberwell Community Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer fund and supported by Southwark Council’s Public Realm Department.

Here are some more pictures from the day …

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