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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

WINNER OF 2023 PSSA MARSH AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SCULPTURE

 

Kenny Hunter, Your Next Breath, The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

On winning this prestigious award for newly erected public sculpture, Kenny Hunter expressed his appreciation, saying, ‘I consider it an honour to receive the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture especially as the short list contained works of such great quality, sensitivity and insight. I also commend the PSSA in all their efforts to raise awareness around Public Sculpture and in particular their support for sculptors.’

Photo: © Ursula Hunter

Kenny Hunter described his winning sculpture as ‘A memorial to mark the containment of COVID 19 and the compassion and resilience of healthcare workers.’ He explained, ‘Before I began work on the memorial, I was able to meet with a range of frontline healthcare workers to discuss their working conditions, allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of the physical and psychological impact on NHS staff. What emerged from these dialogues was a sense that this memorial should contain a mixture of light and dark to truthfully reflect their experience. Certain words seemed to recur through these collective testimonies and I kept them at the forefront of my mind as I developed the sculpture.’

In this powerfully poignant sculpture Kenny has captured the utter exhaustion of the NHS staff as they came off duty, slowly removed their PPE and attempted to readjust to life outside the hospital wards. There is an almost zombie like feel to the figures as they reflect the effects of both the trauma of treating the seriously ill and the dying, and the tiring long hours of shift work the NHS staff endured.

Each figure stands on its own base and has been carefully separated from the others, so that although in a group, every figure stands very much alone. This deliberate separation being symbolic not only of the social distancing everyone observed during the pandemic, but also of the isolation so many people felt. This Covid memorial resonates with the viewer because as Kenny has pointed out, ‘Everyone on the planet was involved in this drama, this tragedy.’

Photo: © Ursula Hunter

 THE PUBLIC VOTE

for the most popular new sculpture shortlisted for the 2023 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture

 

Basil Watson, The National Windrush Monument, Waterloo Station, London

Basil Watson was delighted, ‘To have my work recognized and shortlisted by the PSSA for the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture is a great honour.

Ultimately the work is done to connect with the public and to stir their emotion, and to see the public, in record numbers, have voted for my work as their favourite is absolutely overwhelming. I want to thank all those who voted for Public Sculpture and especially all those who voted for The National Windrush Monument.’

 

Photo: © Basil Watson

Basil explained, ‘The National Windrush Monument has been my personal Empire Windrush voyage, literally and figuratively transporting me along a journey through my past, present and into the future. It has opened insights into my past that were seemingly meaningless dots within my history, and connected them with my present experiences and is propelling me into a future that has a new perspective and appreciation of who I am. My parents were early Windrush generation pioneers, meeting on the ship to London in about 1952, spending a decade in the pursuit of betterment then returning to a newly independent Jamaica in 1962. My father would say that he is a “ship with a set rudder” and this monument has helped me to plot the course he and others traversed as they embarked on a mission of self-advancement, while rebuilding a Britain that they somewhat regarded as their motherland, and you recognize the challenges they faced.

Decked in their special attire along with their bulging suitcases, it clearly demonstrates that this was a special journey and a seismic moment in history. This monument means so much to so many and it has been a great honour to have been challenged with the responsibility of creating it, and now this recognition by the PSSA is further gratification that carries the journey over the top.

 

 

THE 2023 PSSA MARSH AWARD SHORTLIST

FOR EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SCULPTURE

Rana Begum, No. 1104 Catching Colour
The Line, Botanic Square, London City Island

Michael Condron, Bottle Knot
West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset

Denise Dutton, Mary Anning
Junction of Long Entry and Cliff Gun Walk, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Kenny Hunter, Your Next Breath
The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

John McKenna, The Riveters – Port Glasgow Shipbuilders
Coronation Park, Glasgow

Thomas J. Price, Warm Shores
Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, Hackney, London

Basil Watson, The National Windrush Monument
Waterloo Station, London