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Luke Jerram - Southville Primary School

As part of the Primary Capital Programme series of art commissions, artist Luke Jerram has developed an art work for Southville Primary School, Southville, Bristol.

Artist Proposal:

As a starting point for the project Luke Jerram ran workshops with the children of Year 4 from Southville Primary school, the first children who will use the new school. The Year 4 pupils were asked to think about architectural structures for the outside of the school and how they could be used. The pupils designed structures as quiet spaces for reading, hiding, playing chess, and private talking. During the workshop the pupils created scale models of their ideas which they presented to the artist.

Inspired by the ideas generated by the pupils during these workshops Luke Jerram developed a concept to create an optical play/contemplation space.  Jerram was inspired particularly by the magnetic building balls that he observed some of the children playing with.

The artwork has been made of large stainless steel spheres, drilled and cabled together to form a geometric den-like structure. The structure reflects itself, the landscape and architecture around it. The artwork is a fusion of natural forms, optics, physics, engineering, biology and the artist's interest in the microscopic world. The geometry of the form is inspired by the local plant life - a found spore, diatom, pollen. 


Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram's multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations, live arts projects and gifts. Living in the UK but working internationally since his career began in 1997, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe. He is currently Visiting Senior Research Fellow at CFPR, University of West of England.

Jerram is known worldwide for his large scale public engagement artworks. His celebrated street pianos installation 'Play Me, I'm Yours' has been presented in over 37 cities so far, reaching an audience to date of over 4 million people around the world. Launched by the French Minister of Culture in Paris and Mayor Bloomberg in NYC, the installation has received press coverage in almost every newspaper and television station around the globe. In 2010 Jerram was voted ABC "Person of the week" for this work. 

Jerram recently created work for Bristol Temple Quarter commissions coordinated by Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK, with support from Bristol City Council and Arts Council England. The piece, entitled ‘Maya’, is installed on platform 1 at Bristol Temple Meads train station.

Southville Primary 

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Southville Primary is a friendly, active and busy Primary School, with 8 classes, taking children from 3 - 11 years of age. They aim for high standards in all aspects of school life and believe that education is a shared partnership between home and school, working together for the benefit of their pupils. Their governors are well informed and involve themselves as much as possible in the life of the school and they have a very active 'Friends of Southville Primary', who help out with fund raising for different projects. Parent volunteers are frequently to be seen in school helping with reading, art, the library, trips and many other things.

This commission is part of a series of public art commissions curated and managed by Arnolfini for the Primary Capital Programme (PCP); a Bristol City Council and LEP,(Local Educational Partnership) initiative designed to transform aging primary schools across England into state-of-the-art learning environments over the next 15 years. More information on Arnolfini’s involvement here.