New sculpture is announced for roundabout

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THE winner of a commission for a major new artwork on Pelham roundabout has been announced this week.

Leading British artist Henry Krokatsis fought off competition from Marcus Harvey, Oliver Marsden, Marete Masrusman and Graham Rich to reach a final head-to-head with Brazilian artist St Clair de Cemin.

His Helter Skelter was selected ahead of de Cemin’s Standing Wave by a selection panel that included Michael Craig-Martin, Gavin Turk and Freeman of the Borough, Michael Foster. This was also the preferred option of the Hastings public who were consulted on both designs in March.

David Kowitz, director of Fairlight Arts Trust and chairman of the selection panel, said he was pleased by the result but sad that one of the two excellent designs had to be the loser.

Helter Skelter is a 13-metre high structure with the outward forms of a traditional helter skelter and lighthouse. It will be cast in highly polished aluminium allowing the changing seasonal light to be reflected. However, rather than an industrial machined finish, the work, while maintaining its reflective quality, will have the texture of having being cast from rough hewn wood with a hand-carved exaggerated wood grain.

The inspiration for the work includes the history of Hastings as a former Cinque Port and the site of the nearby America Ground as well as resonating with the nearby Hastings seafront fairground tradition.

Henry said: ”I want to make a work that draws on its surroundings - the net huts, the tradition of pier entertainments, Hastings’ former role as a harbour and the makeshift constructions originally built on the nearby America Ground. What struck me about the story of the America Ground was a spirit that still holds strong in Hastings - a communal sense of fierce independence. I want to make a work that reflects that spirit.”

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council (HBC), said: “This is a really exciting piece of public art and I am looking forward to seeing it in situ next spring. It’s also another example of what makes the Hastings area a major contender for UK City of Culture 2017.”

The commission is the result of a partnership between Fairlight Arts Trust and the council, with the trust financing the commission to a value of more than £100,000. The installation of Helter Skelter will take place next spring 2014.