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'We've got to change the role of public sculpture' – Eve Shepherd

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

For this Brighton-based sculptor, it’s all about ‘the stories beyond the stories’.

‘Emily Williamson’s statue has to have longevity,’ says Eve Shepherd – ‘which is why I’ve put in so much detail, because it needs to tell so many stories.’

From a distance, you'll see a Victorian woman in a stiff crinoline. Get closer, and her skirts morph into a cliff-face studded with vignettes. Owl, heron, grebe, kingfisher… Birds once used in millinery, birds vulnerable today; you'll also spot feather workers, eco campaigners…

‘We’ve got to change the role of public sculpture so that it isn’t just about depicting a person, but about telling all the other stories,’ says Eve. To take this one step further, she’s proposing using cutting edge ‘augmented reality’ technology to bring to the stories to life. ‘Augmented reality is out there. But it hasn’t yet been used with public sculpture.’

Visually, the statue will blend in with its leafy surroundings thanks to Eve’s graduated patination technique. Emily’s verdigris skirts slowly give way to a warm copper brown. ‘My work is designed to fit within nature and grow out of nature, as if Emily’s emerging from her surroundings. She is the conservation story. She’s Mother Nature herself.

'This piece – and Emily’s legacy – is forever reminding us of our dependence on Mother Nature, our responsibility to her, and our inseparable and beautiful relationship with her.’

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First class.

Encompassing what the RSPB stand for.

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