National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Peace Sculpture

Summary

Type Fountain

     A simple inverted 'V' frame structure, it incorporates sixteen directed jets which form a water trellis within the triangle image: the requirements of the sculpture brief were fulfilled during the different stages of the programmed cycle of water movements. As the water reaches maximum pressure and the water trellis is complete, the water would represent 'the different cultures striving to meet in a state of peace and harmony'. As the pressure drops and the jets sink to a point of stillness, 'the cycle of life and contemplation of man's mortality is evoked' which is suggestive of Commemoration. Finally, as the water re-emerges 'a consciousness of re-birth and renewal is suggested which symbolises the transformation of dead and derelict land to a new life as a beautiful park.' (1)
     This water sculpture was commissioned by the West Midlands County Council on the suggestion of Councillor Sparks, Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee in 1983 and was the outcome of an open competition organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain and West Midlands Arts.(1) The competition brief stipulated that the sculpture should symbolise: (a) the commemoration of those civilians who had died in a bomb raid in 1941 at the former B.S.A. motorcycle works adjacent to the Ackers; (b) the celebration of Peace Year in 1984 and long term peace in the world; (c) the transformation of the Ackers site from a derelict wasteland to a new recreational facility for the nearby community.(2) From twelve entrants, Pye was shortlisted with two others who were invited to submit maquettes, each being paid £500. A Sub-Committee of the County Council subsequently selected Pye's design. His Peace Fountain and its instalment amounted to £25,000, details of which were published in the local press.(3) It was successfully unveiled on 20th December 1985, but soon afterwards the fountain mechanism ceased to work due to shortcomings of enabling works and an absence of maintenance following the abolition of West Midlands County Council, and in 1985 Pye was obliged to carry out £2,000 of emergency repairs.(4) The fountain worked again for several weeks before being vandalised. According to the artist, the sculpture acted as a symbol for Ackers Park. Due to the support of Michael Diamond, Director of Birmingham City Art Gallery, the sculpture has been successfully re-sited in the middle of a landscaped lake on the Aston University site, overlooked by its halls of residence, and acts as a harmonious focal point for the area.(6)
    

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Pye, William Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Fountain Stainless steel, with fountain mechanism 6m high

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMbiBIxx199 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • None
Vandalism
  • None
Road Aston Triangle
Precise location Lake between halls of residence, University of Aston
A-Z ref None
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1985
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by West Midlands County Council
Duty of care University of Aston
Listing status Not listed
At risk? Not at risk

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