A Community Sculpture is unveiled at the Bermondsey Street Festival 2014

Leathermarket Community Sculpture The Shared Austin Emery Project  London Bermondsey

during the Autumn of 2012 local sculptor and artisan Austin Emery invited all who worked, lived and passed through Bermondsey to take part in open sculpting workshops. Using professional carving tools, the amateurs of the Bermondsey community were able to create their own pieces of unique artwork from their chosen piece of stone.

Austin has spent the time since then, over 800 hours of work, piecing together each individual sculpture. Whilst he added his own touches of professionalism here and there, the perfect imperfections of the work that each individual contributed have been untouched. To Austin, “the beauty is in the rawness of the differences between people.” The Shared is the culmination of these differences, the personalities, the quirks; the flaws, clashes and harmonies that are reflected by such a diverse city as London, and in particular, the community of Bermondsey.

Leathermarket Community Sculpture The Shared Austin Emery Project  London Bermondsey Local Kids
The sculpture poses the question ‘How can you judge a crowd?’ Due to its packed and overflowing nature, it evokes not just a single response, but repeated considerations. The dynamic energy of the city was the starting point for The Shared, but the input of the people that love, hate, struggle and play is where the real meaning is derived. “Sweetness from top to bottom doesn’t do it for me,” says Austin, who is much more interested in focusing on “the grit, grime and every layer in between.”

Leathermarket Community Sculpture The Shared Austin Emery Project  London Bermondsey
In creating this piece, the artist has attempted to bridge the gaps in the community that have been created by Bermondsey’s increasingly unrecognisable face. By bringing the public into the artwork, and subsequently bringing the artwork into the streets, Austin has reminded us that there is far more to this area than The Shard – something of a namesake for the sculpture.

Austin Emery’s contemporary art is heavily influenced by his years spent as a stonemason, where he developed an appreciation for permanent, enduring forms. The Shared reflects this, being made from Portland and Bath stones, as well as pieces salvaged from historic London buildings such as Westminster Abbey and London Bridge Station.

The Shared will be unveiled by Royal Academician, Norman Ackroyd, as well as Austin himself, on the 20th September at the Tyers Estate Rain Garden. Festival-goers are invited to take part in planting the garden throughout the day, with the unveiling event beginning at 5pm.

Tyers Estate
Camarthen Place

Austin Emery The Shared Bermondsey Community Sculpture

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