It’s intended to be a homage to the Island’s oyster farming history - but a 'percentage for art' installation in Gorey has got some local residents shelling out abuse.
The artwork is on public land opposite the newly developed site of the old 'drive in' BBQ, and has got people talking on social media more about the quality of the art than our once thriving shellfish industry.
Chris Clifford had a budget of £30,000 to come up with a concept for Trinity Estates, the company behind the new Les Residences development.
He commissioned local artist Nick Parlett to design six laser cut fretwork images depicting the oyster industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are set in a sheet of corten steel and have been mounted on a specially designed concrete base.
But Vicky Boarder from the Fresh Fish Company describes it as a "rusty work erected on a concrete slab", and thinks the developer's money could have been better spent.
She said: “It’s not imaginative, it does not demonstrate the history of the area. I don’t know what the fretwork has to do with the oyster industry. It’s a complete waste of money.
They could have got art students to come up with a design and depicted more of what Gorey is about and then residents could have chosen the one we like the best.”
But Mr Clifford acknowledges that not everyone is going to get it. He said: “Art by its very nature is subjective. If we always agreed on what is good art then we would live in a world whereby we’d all have the same picture hanging in our front room.
"I believe that it is better to have public artwork that is locally commissioned as that provides an opportunity to create a site specific narrative that people can understand and appreciate over time. This is clearly what has been achieved in Gorey and I’m heartened by the many hundreds of comments from locals and visitors that support that view. I also think it is very important to commission resident artists so as to allow them to tell the story of their own culture whilst also creating employment opportunities and keeping expenditure within the local economy.
"The opposite approach sees works of art imported from outside the island that have no relevance to Jersey or its heritage and there’s been quite a bit of that over the years most of which has never captured the public’s imagination”.
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