To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel funding was made available for various events to celebrate his life and work. Sculptor Tony Eastman and myself made a joint application to produce an artistic response to the hard engineering of Brunel’s work.
Through detailed research it became apparent that during Brunel’s lifetime equally important advances were being made though leaps in creativity in art, music and literature. With this in mind our focus shifted in the search for a medium that would allow us to express the achievements of Brunel and his peers in the fields of the arts as well as in industry and the sciences, and simultaneously create a unique series of contemporary artworks. The art works would deliver factual information in a visually exciting way and be seen as a celebration of Bristol’s industrial past and cultural present.
The solution was to combine contemporary images produced by Bristol artists with textual historical parallels or timelines, and to create four large banners covering specific date ranges and linked visually to Brunel’s work. The banners would work visually on an individual level but would be strengthened when displayed as a group. Our intention was for the banners to be viewed by the general public in a busy Harbourside location with strong links to the City’s industrial past, popular with tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately our bid was unsuccessful.