Wednesday 10th December 2008
There’s a new face in Wigan…in fact it is the Face of Wigan - an exciting new piece of public art that’s taken pride of place in the town centre.
The Face of Wigan is a dramatic 5.5m high stainless steel sculpture of a face that could very well become another iconic image of the borough.
The piece is a new take on an old favourite as its creator, acclaimed English sculptor Rick Kirby explains:
“The face is a play on the many portraits and busts of the ‘good and glorious’ that adorn the parks and centres of every town and city throughout Britain.
“The sculptured portrait is intended to represent not a single celebrity, but all of the inhabitants of the area, the very people of Wigan. These are the people who make the place what it is today, and indeed have the power to determine what will be the future.”
The rear of the piece is a highly reflective surface set at different angles which will mirror fragments of people passing as well as the surrounding landscape.
Mr Kirby is known for a vast collection of striking public art works including ‘Continuum’ at Alexandra Park Lake in Hastings and ‘Cross the divide’ at the South Bank in London.
Funding for the project totalling almost £80,000 was provided by Modus Properties, developers of Wigan’s Grand Arcade shopping centre as part of an agreement with Wigan Council to provide a major piece of public art in the town centre.
Louise Pearson, Development Manager for Modus says:
“We are delighted to have assisted in the delivery of this important piece of public art. Plus, we're happy to see that it is in a prime location to oversee the next phase of regeneration in the town centre.”
Consultation about the piece took place with shoppers and visitors to the town centre over the summer of 2007, with people giving their thoughts and suggestions on a number of designs. At the end of the process, The Face of Wigan was the clear winner.
The Face came to its new home at The Wiend in Wigan town centre on Tuesday (December 9).
It will spend up to 18 months in this location before embarking on a tour of different locations in the borough over the coming years.
Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for the Environment Cllr David Molyneux says:
“Public art can be controversial and can be seen as a bit of an easy target but it can also play a huge role in enhancing the environment and improving our public open spaces.
“This piece was chosen by the people of Wigan and we are delighted with their choice. The spirit and ethos behind the Face of Wigan makes a bold statement about our ambitions and our vision for the future of our borough.
“It’s facing the future and reflecting on all the good things about our borough. We are sure that residents and visitors to the borough alike will appreciate it when they come face-to-face with it.”