Public art commissions often recognize the need for a local community to catalyze their identity, but, as Miwon Kwon and others have written, this can lead to an essentialized version of identity. Through the expansion of public art commissioning, the value of the artist’s role in placemaking is now widely accepted, but this comes with an increased demand for artists to respond to a brief while trying, as David Cotterell says, to “construct art work and projects of an uncompromised nature.” However, in the case of heritage projects, artists also meet with expected representations of heritage. As part of The Ring, a larger program of canal heritage–related commissions funded by the Canal & River Trust, I developed and produced a public art project titled Saltways. The project brought to the fore the contested nature of the use of art in heritage projects. This paper will discuss the challenges for the artist negotiating the line between compromising the integrity of the artistic idea, while meeting the community’s need to feel their heritage is represented, and how a failure of authenticity of one kind might lead to another kind of authenticity.
|Journal||Public Art Dialogue|
|Publication status||Published - 5 Nov 2020|
- Public art
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- School of Architecture and Design - Senior Lecturer
- Centre for Arts and Wellbeing
- Experimental Design Practices Research and Enterprise Group
- Radical Methodologies (RaM) Research and Enterprise Group
- Architectural Humanities Research and Enterprise Group
- Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories
- Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics