Tag Archives: Truro

‘Man on Fire’ (large version) at Limbo


The first biannual, forming a blue-print for a future biennale

28th March – 14th April 2013

Curated by Joseph Clarke, Jesse Leroy Smith, Sam Bassett and Neil Scott, this exhibition at the old coffin store in Truro was extremely well received and is the first in a proposed series of events over the coming year.



‘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.

‘Drummer’ Nears Completion

Casting of the final, fifteen foot high, bronze sculpture of ‘Drummer’, commissioned to stand in Truro’s main square outside the Hall for Cornwall theatre, is currently underway in London. The modelling work was completed on this piece in December 2010 and, shortly after this, the foundry began the process of taking moulds from the model where it stood in a remote Cornish studio before transporting them up to London for the work to be completed.

Tim Shaw working on 'Drummer'It is hoped that the cast will contain both an ingot of Cornish tin and Cornish copper, symbolically thrown into the crucible to figuratively connect the sculpture to the land around it.

As soon as a date can be confirmed for completion of the casting (estimated late May – June 2011), an announcement will be made regarding its unveiling, including details of who will unveil the piece and the date and time of accompanying festivities.

Concurrent to this event, the Millennium Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of the drawings and machetes that formed the preliminary work to ‘Drummer’,  as well as providing another opportunity to view the installation produced between 1996 to 1999, La Corrida: Dreams in Red, a piece which constituted part of the original inspiration for ‘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