Tuesday, 22 February 2011

a field student of Walthamstows dark marshlands

Lost and Found in E17 seeks to map some of the outdoor public art in Walthamstow and the wider borough. Of particular interest to this field student of E17 (et al), is missing or lost public art.
My daily cycle commute to work usually takes in the mixed pleasures of the Lea Bridge Road and surrounds. This morning I caught sight of this sign at the junction of Lea Bridge Road, Orient Way and Argall Way.

Keeping in with the flow of cycle traffic, I could only manage a cursory glance to look for the sculpture - which I recalled being a light or beacon - before disappearing into the waterworks and on to Hackney Marshes. Was it still there, I asked myself? I made a mental note to look for it on the way home; a journey I knew would take place in the dark.
On return to the junction I couldn’t see the light or the sculpture. I examined the sign a little more, as well as the site immediately around it looking for other signs of the sculptures presence.
The sign reads:
The Bulrush
Created and designed by artist Andrew Dwyer of Free Form Arts Trust, the Bulrush Sculpture relates to the reed which grows in the nearby Walthamstow Marshes.
It was commissioned by the Lea Bridge Gateway Partnership and the London Borough of Waltham Forest to celebrate the regeneration of the local area.

I have travelled up and down the Lea Bridge Road many times in the 10 years I have lived in the area. I am unsure how long it was I didn’t miss ‘The Bulrush’.
I’m missing it now. I’d like to know what has happened to it. I have tried going to the LBWF website to get some information and I have not found answers there. Andrew Dwyer has a website (http://www.andrew-dwyer.co.uk/index.htm) on which there are some images of the sculpture. I have also emailed him asking if he knows anything about the fate of ‘The Bulrush’. There doesn’t seem to be an entry for ‘The Bulrush’ on the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association website although there is some information about a sculpture (River God) in the grounds of the waterworks at Coppermill Lane - a sculpture which is normally out of view to the public.
Here are some links to the sculpture, ‘River God’ which has some connections to 'The Bulrush'.
Perhaps ‘The Bulrush’ was intended as a temporary installation, one that fulfilled its purpose and so was removed accordingly. It might be the cost of maintaining it as a working light was too high and that a ‘dead’ light was too incongruous a presence for something supposed to be symbolising ‘regeneration’.
I’m unsure what sorts of bulrush grow on Walthamstow Marshes.
Connecting with a recent thread, the subject of polluted water, ‘The Bulrush’ may have had a fitting presence as symbolising something which can purify water - a form of regeneration essential to all.

1 comment:

  1. I've just received a reply from Andrew Dwyer, telling me the sculpture was damaged in poor weather a few years ago. It was removed and put in storage in a fabricators workshop. The artist has recently made some moves to get it reinstalled although acknowledges the current economic climate is perhaps as inclement.