Most recently, HAT has run a competition to design a specific work in honour of the recently passed Lady Gibberd, won by German-born British sculptor Ekkehar Altenburger. His winning sculpture, ‘Sophrosyne I’ will be displayed in the centre of a newly built square at Newhall. Naming his artwork after the Greek philosophical term meaning prudence and moderation, Atlenburger explains that he was partially inspired by Lady Gibberd’s private collection during an Easter Egg hunt at her residence: “I was particularly intrigued by the way the sculptures were connected with the architecture as well as the landscape, something which is a constant challenge in my work.” Composed of Norwegian Larvekite granite handpicked by the artist, the piece will sit upon a blue plinth whilst its sister sculpture, ‘Sophrosyne II’ sits in the grounds of the National Museum in Guatemala City.
The competition entries were of such high quality that HAT and Newhall Projects made the unusual decision to select a second piece of artwork to display in the town. ‘Methuselah’, by London-based artist, architect, film-maker and sculptor Nick Turvey, is a reference to the oldest known tree in the world – a bristlecone pine dated at around 5,000 years old. Turvey said of his creation: “I am fascinated by ancient trees, since extreme age seems to reduce them to sculptural essences. Although of recent construction, [an earthwork mound in Newhall park] carries suggestions of Neolithic landscape markers, and led to my thinking about how a sculpture could embody deep time and annual cycles of growth, relating to the land’s agricultural past.” The laser-cut artwork is constructed from 10mm Corten steel sheet to resist then unpredictable effects of the British climate.
Both artists expressed delight in the 'Sculpture Town' project, laying praise on the project’s developers: “who so clearly recognise that art is an essential part of place-making, rather than just a bauble for promotional materials.”