Guerrilla Restoration meets ABMU Health Board
It was fantastic to have had an email from the ABMU Health Board earlier this year.
Martin Thomas who leads the ABMU Heritage Team contacted me as he was researching what public art the health board owned.
Martin came across my Guerrilla Restoration work and the previous work I’d done in highlighting cleaning samples of Harry Everington’s 1969 abstract concrete sculptural mural over the last 5 years.
Taken from the ABMU Heritage blog, here’s what Martin said of the project:
“When we started this group we carried out a scoping exercise to see what historical artefacts the health board owned and this mural came up.
“When I did more research I found out about Catrin’s project and we thought it would be a good idea to help finish what she had started.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity for us to clean a very neglected sculpture.
“This is quite an important one, we own it, so we should look at after it and because it’s in the centre of Swansea I think we’ve got a responsibility to keep it clean.”
Laden with buckets of hot soapy water the ABMU Heritage Team and I got scrubbing the mural back to its former glory. I am so happy and proud to see one of my favourite concrete murals back in the public eye.
Eager to witness the mural’s transformation was Judith Everington whose father Harry was an inspirational sculpture lecturer at Swansea Art College.
It was under his guidance that students from the college produced the mural which was put on the building’s exterior back in 1969.
Returning to Swansea for the first time in half a century she instantly recognised her late father’s influence on the sculpture.
“I am delighted to be here to see this – the minute I saw this mural I thought of my dad. He was passionate about his work and he would have been very pleased to see this being restored to its former glory, I think this is a brilliant idea,” said Judith, who had travelled from her home in Birmingham accompanied by her partner Kevin Reilly.
The mural set on the facade of Central Clinic, Orchard Street Swansea is on a very busy road. The mural is very large and with neglect, traffic fumes and the last few decades’ dis-taste for midcentury design, the mural fell into the background noise, dusty and ignored.
I’ve always loved this mural. Post war architecture especially in Britain has always been the focus of my output as an artist and has been a life long personal interest.
Alas mid century and brutalist are now the buzz words and height of fashion, hopefully this project will attract fans of midcentury and brutalist architecture to Swansea.
This is all positive as hopefully The 20th Century Society will catalogue the mural and make sure it is listed.
My work here is done.
Photos copyright of ABMU Health Board and Judith Everington.