Little Acorns

- Little Acorns Sculpture ~ Alan Cargo -

– Little Acorns Sculpture ~ Alan Cargo –

Little Acorns ~ Powder Coated Steel and Stainless Steel
Sculptor ~ Alan Cargo

Back in 2011, Antrim Borough Council encouraged local residents to take part in an exciting, new project: A sculpture representing a mighty oak tree, to be erected at the roundabout at Greystone Road, Antrim. I found it during construction, but was unable to discover the back story until now.

Little Acorns ,showing the sections

Little Acorns ,showing the sections

It involved working with artist, Alan Cargo, to create a large metal tree complete with engraved metal leaves. Each leaf was created by an individual member of the community with a design of their choice along the themes of Round Tower, growth, strength, and connections.

Little Acorns, branches and leaves

Little Acorns, branches and leaves

Unfortunately, because of the 7.5m height, and positioning of the completed sculpture on the roundabout, it was not possible to get up close to see the words and imagery on to the 320 stainless steel leaves and acorns.

The project is part of the Positive Spaces programme, helping communities enhance their neighbourhoods with positive and cross-community public art.

Almost a silhouette, to give an idea of the shape.

Almost a silhouette, to give an idea of the shape.

Alan Cargo has for more than a decade successfully completed 25 large scale public art sculptural projects, and taken part in exhibitions both internationally and locally.

He has lived and worked in England, Ireland and Africa both as a teacher and designer / maker of sculpture, and has traveled extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is currently a lecturer of 3D Design (Sculpture) in Belfast Metropolitan College.

A wide range of materials and engineering techniques are used to realise his work, and he likes to have a hands-on approach to all the manufacturing stages involved in making the work a process. He has this to say about ‘Little Acorns’:

Commissioner, Antrim Borough Council / European Development Fund.
The four parts of this sculpture line up to make a ‘great oak’ tree at one point of the viewers journey round the roundabout creating a sense of visual anticipation, and reflecting the somewhat fractured nature of the surrounding communities. Direct inclusion of peoples words and imagery sand blasted on to the 320 stainless steel leaves and acorns advances the idea that community is strengthened when everyone can speak, words and imagery from workshops with 5 primary schools and 4 community groups are included.

About four years ago, I wrote about a very different tree not far from this one. It was Brian Connolly’s The Healing Tree.

When I discover how to pull over the approx 2,300 posts from my old blog, you will be able to dander through my sculpture series that began with the story of Dickie, Sam & Billy. If you scroll down the comments, you will find a comment from Brian Alabaster, the sculptor of the piece. I have to confess it is still my favourite.


20 thoughts on “Little Acorns

    • Al, taking my camera for a walk, made me realise how much sculpture we have in open spaces these days. Some appeal to me more than others. It becomes a learning process for me as I try to discover the back story to the piece and the sculptor.

  1. Interesting — and different sculpture.

    When researching for a short upcoming trip, I found myself searching online for sculpture — to photograph, of course.

    • I took these photos in on 11th January 2012. Despite several attempts I failed to find any information until this morning. I also found info on another that is sitting in my files. I too began searching the net for information, but I only use my own photos no matter how amateurish the appear.

      I look forward to seeing what you find on your travels, Mike.

  2. Interesting Marie, I have mixed feelings about public spaces and facsimiles of nature installed in them. Joni Mitchell’s famous song comes to mind.
    Also not being able to see the personalized art leaves?
    Strange is the word I’d use… 🙂
    Lovely photos though, you present the case quite beautifully.

    • WWW, I wonder if my delay really searching for information about this piece, is in fact due to it being so stiff and lifeless, unlike a real tree, and that the colour is wrong to my eye. Antony Gormley’s ‘The Angel of the North’ in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, England, may well be one of the most talked about pieces of public art ever produced, but to my untrained eye it is a hunk of rust that holds no appeal. Further south The Darlington Brick Train modelled on the 1938 record setting, 126mph steam locomotive “Mallard”, holds much more appeal.

      A total of 185,000 bricks were used in its construction along with 170 cubic meters of concrete. The train weighs 15,000 tonnes and covers an area of 600sq meters. It is of hollow construction and measures 23ft high by 130ft long. It took a team of 34 brick layers, labourers and apprentices 21 weeks to build.

      In addition, there are even 20 special ‘bat’ bricks built in at various places to encourage the nocturnal creatures to use it as their home. Local schools also donated ‘time capsules’ which were put inside the train.

    • Yes, Nancy. For the size of that Roundabout/Rotary a majestic oak planted in the center would bring pleasure for many generations to come.

  3. I love to look at sculptures, indoors or outside. This one is simply gorgeous. Wow! Wish there was something like it in Hawaii.

    • It is a little modern for my liking. I have tried to show a balance of sculpture that appeals to me with some that are not to my liking, after all my visitors have different tastes to me.

  4. I like outdoor art and even better this one with community participation. The arts here are suffering and something that brings art to the people who will live with it is great.

    • Celia, for years, sculpture in public places were all to do with wars and the men who claimed to win them!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Now, and not before time, we are proud to showcase the talent of our many artists. Grants are now more available from the Arts Councils and the EU

  5. I like the idea, but I’m undecided whether i like the sculpture or not. I think I would have to meet it in person before I’d know.

  6. I wonder why small communities host so many original art programs while there seems to be a dearth of them in larger places? We do have sculptures installed around Washington almost every week, but they are always monumantal and seldom whimsical, and I love whimsey. This past week it was a sculpture of Frederick Douglas the abolutionist for the Capital Rotunda. Now that’s serious stuff..Dianne

    • I never thought of that Alice. The sculpture is on an island in the middle of a four way crossroads, so I am sure it would put a halt to the traffic for awhile.

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