Plymouth is the place where Sir Francis Drake played bowls before defeating the Spanish Armada; the point of emigration for the Mayflower, its Pilgrims and countless others setting sail for America; where Darwin set sail on the Beagle and birthplace of Scott the polar explorer.
Ian McChesney has recently completed new artwork for the University at Plymouth entitled Arrival and Departure. The commission forms part of the University’s 150th year celebrations and completes James Square, a new mixed used development comprising a residential building, refectory and the new Rolle Building by David Morley Architects.
The piece comprises two opposing forms redolent of nautical bollards – monuments to journeys. While referring to the many historic voyages starting and ending in Plymouth they also mark the journeys taken by students, both physical and through time and endeavour. Primarily artworks the forms can also be sat upon, laid upon or danced upon.
To mark the unveiling, students from the University and local schools performed ‘Moving On’, a contemporary dance piece performed around and upon the piece choreographed by Gemma Kempthorne inspired by Plymouth’s maritime history and journeys.
Each form weighs two tonnes and measures 1.7m long x 0.9m wide x 0.6m high. They were hand carved from solid blocks of granite from the De Lank Quarry in nearby Bodmin Moor, just over thirty miles away from Plymouth.
Ian McChesney was awarded the commission in 2011 following an open call for expressions of interest followed by a limited competition organised by Peninsula Arts, the arts and culture public programming organisation for Plymouth University.
At the launch of the piece Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts said:
This launch is part of a series of events running throughout 2012 that celebrates Plymouth University’s 150 year history, and it is perhaps fitting that the sculpture ‘Arrival & Departure’, expresses so aptly this sense of being part of a continuum – of past and present – comings and goings – taking time to reflect whilst constant pressing forward. These ideals we felt represent what shapes and makes a University and indeed reflects the city within which we are located – Plymouth – with its rich maritime history and global reach.
Artist: Ian McChesney