NAME : The Casuals DATE : 2011 CLIENT : The Lowry LOCATION : Salford Quays PARTNERS : PP Plasma, Cooney Civil Engineering Contractors
This artwork was designed to reveal, conceptually, the twice-daily gathering of dockers, and the separation of those who were rejected for work. The dockers are represented by the simple sculptural form of a union card, which they needed to gain casual employment.
Each of the sculptural cards is personalised through the addition of a glass disc set within a circular hole punched into the steel. While this echoes the stamping of their card, it also allows the glass to be screen-printed with the portrait and name of an actual Salford dock worker. The digitally printed images are held between laminated glass and secured by stainless steel discs.
Self-weathered steel seemed the obvious choice for the sculpture, reflecting the former industrial age. It also provides a stark contrast with the new ‘shiny’ landscape of the Quays.
“Casuals” forms part of ‘Unlocking Salford Quay’ - a Heritage Lottery Funded project, organised by the Lowry, and was unveiled along with the other artworks as a sculpture trail in 2011.