The sculpture was created from 3 tonnes of Portland Limestone delivered to the public location at RSPB Wiggonholt in 2013 as a trial for a new way of working using local people. The block currently remains in the ownership of the artist, although as his works respond to the local landscape and people, he wishes for it to stay in the area, linked to other similar public sculptures now on the South Downs, at Hindhead, at Lewes and at Horsham.
The process was improvisation – things emerge and change as the block is turned. After the forms were complete it was named Trisantonis (or ’The Trespasser’) after the Roman middle reaches of the Arun which regularly flooded (or trespassed) across the land.
The artist sees the sword-bearing figure as resolutely Roman:
“Think of the feeling in the Arun Valley as native Britons were displaced by Empire bringing their rule to Sussex. Pulborough was an important crossing point of the Middle-Stream and rich Roman remains now lie under our surrounding parishes.
The female form was identified by a visitor as a ‘mother earth’-like figure sitting within her landscape. To me, she’s a river goddess surrounded by her coterie of fauna, steadfast in the midst of a rapidly changing world. This has equal resonance for the Roman period and life today.
There is a lot going in the sculpture – see what you can find by walking around it – and what story emerges for you.”
The community is CRUCIAL for the block. Their collective experience – of the place, the task and the history – start the flow of imagery and discussion which blend and bind with the artist’s own experience. The plan was that there is no plan – the carving grows and emerges as the block is turned over several times, randomising forms to see what comes.
For those contributing their chisel marks and their interpretation of the forms – four generations hence, hundreds may visit the stone to say ‘my great-great-grandparent helped carve that’… rather than just the sculptor’s own descendants.