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The Spectator has announced the winner of its annual What’s That Thing? award, handed to what at least this publication deems to be extraordinarily bad public art. Dashi Namdakov’s She Guardian has scooped the prize, selected by a panel including The Spectator’s design critic Stephen Bayley, art critic Martin Gayford, arts editor Igor Toronyi-Lalic and deputy arts editor Lucy Vickery.
Stephen Bayley, The Spectator’s design critic, described the work as displaying “a residual influence of the blustering, flatulent stuff once favored in and beyond the Soviet Union…this is a grotesque, inappropriate and embarrassing intrusion into London.”
In contrast to that assessment, this is what the gallery representing the artist states:
1105 x 265 x 267 cm
Marble Arch, LondonAbout
On Monday 11 May 2015 Halcyon Gallery unveiled She Guardian, a monumental bronze sculpture by acclaimed artist, Dashi Namdakov, in London’s Marble Arch.
The spectacular bronze statue rises 11 metres from claw to wing tip, and depicts a female feline protecting her young. She Guardian will be placed next to Cumberland Gate, Marble Arch, against a backdrop of green parkland and urban architecture.
A deeply mystical and fantastical sculpture, She Guardian is a powerful feline defender with blade-sharp wings that rear menacingly behind her back. Her snarling jaw s and ready claws speak of a primeval urge to attack anyone who might threaten those she protects.
Dashi Namdakov commented “It took me more than 2 years to create She Guardian and I wanted to push the boundaries both in scale, material and movement, her ferocity also revealing the maternal protectiveness toward her young.”
About the artist:
Dashi Namdakov is a Russian sculptor, graphic artist and jeweler whose works draw on the ancient culture and artistic styles of the Eurasian steppes and on Buddhist and shamanic mythology. His mysterious figures of warriors, princesses, bulls and imaginary creatures create a world of imagery that is powerful yet intricately detailed, conveying an ancient spirituality.
Crafthausers, what do you think? Feel free to share your own examples of what you personally think is good - or bad - public art in the comment segment below!
Please share why you like or dislike the work and add some information about the artist and the commissioning entity as well. Thank you.