New artwork unveiled for the ‘W4th plinth’

Image above: ‘Ceiling in the Sky’ unveiled 

‘Ceiling in the Sky’ by Cristina Schek, unveiled by Dame Siân Phillips

A new piece of art has gone on display at the ‘W4th plinth’ on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace.

Ceiling in the Sky by Cristina Schek was unveiled by Dame Siân Phillips on Sunday 23 April, before the actor went on to the Theatre at the Tabard for her ‘90th Birthday Conversation‘.

Roumanian artist Cristina, 44, told The Chiswick Calendar she had made the digital image after walking in the forest at Windsor.

Image above: Artist Cristina Schek

“There are wonderful layers of foliage and I thought how wonderful that we were worshipping at the altar of nature since the beginning of time, way before we had a roof over our heads.”

An homage to Michelangelo, the cherubs and heavenly creatures, symbols of life and hope, are taken from his work, from Versailles, Hampton Court, and some from Transylvania, Cristina told us.

Cristina lives near Hampton Court and has been in London for ten years, working as a professional photographer in the art world.

“Nature is at the heart of my work. I don’t really have artistic influences so much as influences from books, although I love surrealism.”

Image above: ‘Ceiling in the Sky’, by Cristina Schek

Chosen from nearly 500 entrants

Abundance London, who organise the choice and delivery of the community art works, received nearly 500 submissions from artists to show their work this time, which the jury whittled down to just 15. The 12 which met the technical requirements for the space were put to a public vote and they have received thousands of votes.

“It’s awesome to be recognised for something that feels quite a lonely process” Cristina told us. “You are alone with your work, working away at it. You submit it, you are rejected, and you just have to keep at it. I am pretty jazzed about being chosen because I wasn’t expecting it. It’s humbling.”

“We are very excited about our winner” the judges said. “And the runners up were also so good we will be featuring them in future installations”.

Image above: ‘Karen Liebreich, Director of Abundance London, addressing the crowd of onlookers

Community event

The event was organised by Abundance London. There was a good turn out from the local community. Ruth Cadbury MP, who came with her husband Nick, handed out an award to Sam Reynolds for his guerilla gardening of a patch of land in Wellesley Rd for Abundance London.

Ruth also introduced Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith & Fulham to the assembled crowd, as he will be Chiswick’s next MP if the boundary changes go ahead in July and he is re-elected at the next general election.

Image above: Dame Siân Phillips with Simon McKay

Cllr Katherine Dunne, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, was there representing the Council. Jack Emsley and Ron Mushiso also turned up, representing our local councillors. Tommy Robinson, head of arts at Chiswick School, directed a couple of numbers from his performing arts students.

The vicar of St Michael & All Angels church, Fr Kevin Morris, came hotfoot from the church’s AGM meeting, with his fellow clergy and Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival.
Harriet Benton and her team of friends and helpers provided tasty and creative canapés, with wine from the Tabard pub and home made elderflower drinks made by the Abundance team.

Among the crowd were those with an interest in art, and those with an interest in gardening, a film crew from S4C making a documentary about Siân Phillips, and a few bemused passers-by with an interest in free food and drink.

They watched and clapped appreciatively as Siân tugged on the rope and the previous artwork, The earth from the Suomi NPP satellite, fell to the ground, to reveal the new art work underneath. The flawless disrobing, (ok maybe it took a couple of extra tugs), engineered by Steve Nutt and Rory Ferguson.

Image above: Sam Reynolds receiving an award for guerilla gardening from Ruth Cadbury MP

W4th Plinth project

The judging panel were Peter Burgess, who runs the Chiswick Art School, Sarah Cruz and Karen Liebreich, co-founders of Abundance London, Steve Nutt and Karen Wyatt, also of Abundance London, Tanya Saunders, who runs Make+Paint art clubs for children, and Georgia Simmonds, art and photography teacher at ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form.Signed limited editions of the new artwork will be available for purchase. Harriet Benton Events will be providing drinks for the occasion.

The W4th Plinth art project was launched in September 2019 with an artwork by Sir Peter Blake, showing the Music Hall entertainers who had performed at the Chiswick Empire theatre. Since then, there have been several other community artworks chosen for the space.

Cristina’s work is shown by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery. She has shown her work with them recently at London Art Fair, Art Miami and Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary.

Her next big show will be at Hamptons Fine Art Fair 13-16 July.

Pictures below by Ljubima Wood.

Images above: Unveiling the new artwork; Cristina Schek; Karen Liebreich with Cristina Schek

Images above: Cristina Schek presents Dame Siân Phillips with a print of Ceiling in the Sky; Siân Phillips with Simon McKay; Ruth Cadbury with Sam Reynolds

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