Tag Archives: Drummer

‘The Drummer’ Unveiled

The Drummer Unveiling Ceremony

On June 25th, 2011, approximately 3500 people gathered on Truro’s main square to be a part of the impressive unveiling ceremony for The Drummer.

One hundred drummers from all around Cornwall opened the proceedings as they converged, beating in unison, around the base of the 15ft high sculpture. In the expectant silence that followed the last drum beat, city Mayor, Rob Nolan introduced Sir Richard Carew Pole who spoke first about Cornwall’s rich artistic heritage and the importance of allocating funding to the arts, even, and perhaps especially, during difficult times such as we are currently experiencing. He explained that The Drummer “will make us all, as we pass it on our daily routes, reflect and quietly think about our history and our lives and all that goes with it.”

The Drummer lit up at night on Lemon QuayFollowing Sir Richard, Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, spoke a few words, commenting that he was “honoured and delighted to be involved in this fabulous and slightly controversial, in some ways, but magnificent sculpture”, before pulling the cord that finally removed the cover from the statue, revealing it to the public for the first time. Using a custom made 4ft drumstick, he then sounded the drum, as if bringing to life the sculpture now standing in its permanent home on Truro’s Lemon Quay.

The public’s reaction to the work has so far been overwhelmingly positive. For a few of Truro’s residents however, the controversy that Roger Taylor perceived in the figure has seemed cause for concern, sparking questions as to whether the drummer’s visible genitalia classes as “obscenity”. Tim Shaw responded to these worries, calling up the long history of nude figures in public art and reiterating that “the work isn’t sexual. It’s about something else; about place and people, an expression of toughness and the ability to get on and survive whatever the prevailing circumstances may be; and it’s about the sense of being precariously balanced on an edge which that often entails.”

In response to the other body of concerns which questioned the spending of public money on art in a time of government and council cuts, councillor Charlotte Mackenzie commented that although she would unfortunately feel unable to back a similar project if it arose today, she was glad that projects such as this, commissioned before the current financial crisis, are coming to fruition now at a time when the beneficial aspects of hosting a unique cultural event –  lifting people’s spirits and drawing visitors to Truro – are more important than ever.

Update: Unveiling of ‘The Drummer’ and Exhibitions

Unveiling of The Drummer Approaches – 25th June

Drummer in BronzeThe last of the preparations for the unveiling ceremony for The Drummer are now in full swing as the work enters its last stage of completion at the Bronze Age Foundry in London.

In just 10 days time, the sculpture will have returned to Cornwall and will stand waiting for drummers from all around the county to gather, drumming in unison at its base, as Roger Taylor reveals Truro’s new public sculpture.

In a recent article entitled ‘The shape of things to come: new sculpture’, Brian Sewell described Shaw’s work, commenting:

“I can point without hesitation to a sculptor who can trounce the lot of them whether they be Saatchi’s present choice or the sentimental memorialists recently let loose in London – Tim Shaw, young enough to be still New and capable of taking risks, old and skilled enough to be seen as in the monumental tradition of Charles Sargent Jagger and Michael Sandle.”

Unveiling Ceremony: Saturday 25th June, 7.30pm, Lemon Quay, Truro

Full details of the unveiling are here.

‘What God of Love Inspires Such Hate in the Hearts of Men’ at the Royal Academy Summer Show

The Royal Academy of Arts’ annual Summer Exhibition is once again underway. The show is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world, and draws together a wide range of new and recent work by established, unknown and emerging artists.

Shaw’s striking ‘What God of Love Inspires Such Hate in the Hearts of Men’ (Man on Fire) can be found in Gallery VIII. In a review of the exhibition in the London Evening Standard, art critic Brian Sewell listed this piece in his top ten commendations, along with works by James Butler, Brian Taylor, Jack Sawbridge, and Per Kirkeby.

Summer Exhibition 2011 is at the Royal Academy, until August 15. Saturday to Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-10pm. Admission £10 (concs available).


If you have not already managed to make it down to the Millennium Gallery in St. Ives to see Origins of The Drummer, then you have just one more week to do so before the show closes on June 21st.

The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see a range of Shaw’s work. Spanning back to one of his earliest installations, ‘La Corrida: Dreams in Red’, the show not only offers a rare opportunity to see the works in their own right, but is also orchestrated to highlight the evolution of ideas and techniques that led to The Drummer.

Epistle No. 1: Life After the Kenneth Armitage Foundation

Studio in WinterThirteen months have passed since I made the transition from the Kenneth Armitage Foundation in Kensington to rural life in Cornwall, and the change couldn’t be any more extreme. After the hustle and bustle of London I am now working in a large, disused quarry building in a remote valley that has not been touched for forty years. In this space I am creating a large public sculpture for Truro’s city centre.

The work, entitled ‘Drummer’, celebrates the spirit of a place and its people, and depicts a figure poised dynamically on a sphere, beating a drum. The sculpture is soon to be cast into bronze and will stand at a height of fifteen foot on Lemon Quay, Truro’s main square, next to the Hall for Cornwall theatre.

An unveiling is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2011.

Images show the studio in winter time (above) and the Drummer (below).

The Drummer