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 – WSSW Part 7: Looking to the Future is one of them.

Not to everyone’s taste, 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 love them all. They’re still interesting.

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’re tucked away with nothing to draw attention to them. One simply chances upon them when walking the many foot/cycle paths around Swindon. Installed in 1989, when West Swindon was developing, Looking to the Future is a case in point.

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.

Find a map of the walk and descriptions of the sculptures here.