These unique artworks have been created within part of the multi-million pound regeneration of Newbridge Town Centre. Each piece has been designed and developed in conjunction with the local community.
The Memory Seat is an artwork that is symbolic of a much wider cultural project, involving the collection of oral histories.
The sculptural seat is sited adjacent to the Newbridge War Memorial, and deliberately builds on its theme of memory and remembrance. A paving design has also been developed that helps integrate the seat into the surrounding landscape, along with a central cast disc that helps interpret the artwork.
The spiralling, multi-coloured granite seat is made up of 100 sections. Some of these sections have text carved into them, highlighting a sentence from each of the poignant stories, told by a member of the local community. The granite was supplied and carved by Hardscape.
These personal stories, from all sections of society, have been collected and recorded by a small group of people from Newbridge, headed up by local youth worker and volunteer, Geraint King. The whole community were invited to ‘tell their story of Newbridge’, via advertising and announcing the project at various community events.
This website - http://newbridge.sbal.co.uk has been developed to allow the full stories to be told and the opportunity to listen to the recordings collected.
The Memory seat was installed in December 2012.
The idea for recreating the Hallelujah Lamp came directly from community discussions and is based on a local story of an old gas lamp that used to be located outside Newbridge Hotel. The lamp was a focal gathering point for the community and it is hoped this will once again create a place for residents to congregate for special community events.
The lamp was designed and the shape inspired by the natural curve of a fern, symbolic of the growth and advancement of the town. Standing 7m tall, the lamp is fabricated in aluminium and has a fresh green coating to represent new shoots of growth for the town. The lower 2m section of the lamp is etched and anodised with low relief map designs, illustrating the position of each of the four schools; Pentwynmawr Primary, Newbridge Comprehensive, Pantside Primary and Ty Newydd Primary, with their badge emblem. It was manufactured and installed by Chris Brammell Ltd.
The base section is comprised of four circular seating blocks in granite. The stylised paving design around the base uses contrasting coloured granite and can be seen as roots that help integrate the piece into the landscape. The granite was supplied by Hardscape.
A community celebration was held at it’s unveiling in October 2012, with children from local schools attending in historical dress to sing traditional songs with the Salvation Army Silver Band. They were also joined by members of the local community, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Michael Gray and Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development. Cllr. Ken James, said,
“It has been a great honour to attend the unveiling of this artwork as it is dedicated back to the community. The Hallelujah lamp will provide a focal point for the community, reminding them of their rich history; inspire community spirit and helping them to look to the future.”