10 things to celebrate about Swindon. No 4: The sculptures. A – ‘Looking to the future’

Looking to the future
Looking to the Future – West Swindon
‘Looking to the Future’ -1985. Artist: Jon Buck. Material: Glass Fibre Resin. Project Details: This sculpture was completed by the first artist in residence during the development of West Swindon and funded by Thamesdown Borough Council, Southern Arts and Property 3.’

Swindon is home to an assortment of statues and sculptures – Looking to the Future just one of them. Some of them are not to everyone’s taste and arguments rage about whether the council should spend money on such things when services are always crying out for funding. It was ever thus.

Whatever the merits or otherwise of that argument, on a personal level, I rather like the fact that they exist even if I don’t find all of them to my personal taste.  

In fact, Thamesdown Borough Council commissioned the pieces that comprise the West Swindon sculpture trail in the period from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Funding came, in part, from the housing developer’s contributions to the Percent-for-Art public realm scheme. An important feature of Swindon’s cultural make-up, these sculptures have neither the recognition nor attention and care that they deserve.

They are tucked away with nothing drawing attention to them. One simply chances upon them when walking the many foot/cycle paths around Swindon. Looking to the Future being a case in point – installed in 1989 when the area of West Swindon was developing.

Part of  the West Swindon Sculpture walk, Looking to the Future lies between the West Swindon Centre and Ashington House pharmacy.

From the road one can see the pond and the footpath but not the figures as they recline in a corner almost obscured by reeds and undergrowth. The pond is in a disgusting state too. I’ve even seen ducks walk across it.

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