ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.

Bookmark and Share

Dalziel + Scullion's Gold Leaf: Buried Sunlight

Date uploaded: October 31, 2011

A New Art Landmark by Dalziel and Scullion
at Pooley Country Park

Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion have recently completed a new landmark artwork for Pooley Country Park to encourage greater use of this delightful resource in the North Warwickshire Village of Polesworth.

The work has been commissioned as part of the regeneration of Pooley Park made possible by a funding Agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency under the National Coalfields Programme.  The artwork is part of a comprehensive programme to make the park more attractive and exciting and includes new benches, a spiral path to improve access to the top of the Mound, a poetry trail and an interpretation programme.

Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion, describe their concept: From a distance this structure appears like a golden classical column but its footprint takes the shape of a birch leaf, this artwork is in fact made up of thousands of leaves stacked one upon another, symbolising the enormous amount of plant material that created the Pooley coal reserves. Birch trees are a prominent feature of Pooley Park and in the autumn the park is covered in a blanket of millions of jettisoned leaves. The birch is a pioneering species that is successfully colonising the poor soil left behind in what was once a heavily mined area, but it has also played an important part in the regeneration of the park land, its golden leaves gradually decompose to form a fine mulch that other species seed and take root in.

This proposal captures the leaves at a point of transformation, between leaf and soil. This work speaks of the potential to transform generally -  and more specifically of the alchemy of organic matter to become coal – a transformation that has fuelled the economies of the world since the industrial revolution. This artwork is constructed in layers that hint at the sedimentary layers below the earth’s surface where coal is trapped between sandstone, clay and quartz. The towering form of the work attempts to picture the unimaginable lengths of time that coal seams took to form, acknowledging too that the connections between plants and economies are still very pertinent today.

Country Parks Managers were delighted with the project. Paula Cheesman, Country Parks Manager said: “This is the culmination of a huge amount of work with park visitors, the local community and the selected artists to create a lasting centre piece for the park”.

Paula added: “The art work was selected from a range of concepts presented to the steering group.  The ‘golden tower of leaves’ was selected as it is an idea with depth and relevance to the formation of the park. The Birch leaf is synonymous with Pooley, as Birch trees were one of the first species to recolonise the disturbed ground following the closure of the colliery.”

Stuart Ikeringill, Rural Services Manager added: “The regeneration project is essential to ensure the success of Pooley Country Park and it has been great to see so much involvement from the local community.  To date works have included the creation of a new path up the former spoil heap and the dredging and opening up of the canal arm where coal was previously loaded onto barges.  Work has also been completed on a new entrance to the park together with new signs and imaginative interpretation to bring the story of Pooley to life”.

Cllr Tilly May, county councillor and North Warwickshire Area Committee chair, said: “We have a great opportunity at Pooley to mark the mining industry and achievements of past generations, and to create a wonderful park with a spectacular piece of art.”

Paul Spooner, regional director for the Homes and Communities West Midlands said: “We are pleased that HCA funding has enabled the scheme to get underway and this arts project, which has been developed with the local community, will make a real mark on the long term regeneration of the area.” 

Visit www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/coalfields_programme

A golden future at Pooley Country Park: Dalziel + Scullion: Gold Leaf: Buried Sunlight

A golden future at Pooley Country Park: Dalziel + Scullion: Gold Leaf: Buried Sunlight