- Date: 16 May 2011
- Artform: Visual arts
- Area: South West
In summer 2012, Nowhereisland, a large-scale, island sculpture formed from an Arctic island will journey around the south west region of England, stopping at ports and harbours as a visiting ‘island nation’.
The project is part of Artists taking the lead, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Arts Council England is delivering the project in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales.
The story of Nowhereisland began in 2004, when artist Alex Hartley discovered an island which had been revealed from the melting ice of a retreating glacier in the High Arctic, whilst on a Cape Farewell expedition. Alex was the first human to ever stand on it and with the help of the Norwegian Polar Institute registered and named the island which is now included on all subsequent maps and charts.
This year, Alex will return to the Arctic to retrieve a portion of the island, which he will sail into international waters, where it will become a micronation – Nowhereisland – and then travel on to England where it will become the basis of a large-scale island sculpture.
In 2012, Nowhereisland will embark upon its 702 mile costal journey from Weymouth at the opening of the Olympic Games on 25 July 2012 and will conclude in Bristol for the finale of the Cultural Olympiad on 9 September 2012.
To find out more and sign up as a citizen of Nowhereisland, visit the Nowhereisland website.
About the artist
Alex works primarily with photography, often incorporating it into sculpture and installation. Over 20 years, his work has explored attitudes toward built and natural environments. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2007), Natural History Museum (2006), Distrito Cuatro, Madrid (2003), The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2001) and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2000) and is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery. Alex lives in Dorset.
All of the winning Artists taking the lead projects were chosen by a panel of artists and producers. The South West panel commented:
'Nowhereisland is a big idea that is elegant, simple yet truly Olympian in scale and ambition. Questioning what nationhood means in a globalised society, it highlights the South West's international relationships and reflects on what these now mean for our environment. Provocative and spectacular, it will speak to all nationalities, ages and interests; people who have never visited an art gallery and "culture vultures" alike. It shows what art can add to the Olympics; new perspectives, self knowledge and a celebration of human ingenuity.'
Visit the Artists taking the lead page to find out about the other projects taking place across the UK.