LONDON.- Today, Thursday July 5th , a new 12 metre high sculpture Athena is unveiled on the approach to London City Airport. Designed to be visible to travelers arriving into London from the air, Athena is a celebration of heroic endeavour fit for the year when London welcomes the world, and is set to become a major sculptural landmark. Athena is the tallest bronze sculpture to go on display in the UK, as well the largest sculpture to date by Nasser Azam, who grew up in the borough of Newham and has sculptures on display in the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin, Ireland and outside the Westminster Park Plaza in London. With a nod to the origin of the Olympic Games, the elegant form of Athena makes reference to the present and future regeneration of East London.
The sculpture was unveiled by Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, who has been a supporter of the sculpture since its conception. Athena was cast by Zahra Modern Art Foundries, formerly Morris Singer, which has produced some of the worlds most famous monumental sculptures including the bronze lions in Trafalgar Square.
Azam comments: I grew up in Newham and for some time have wanted to give something back to the community there. The location is tremendous given the development that has already taken place around the Royal Docks and the planned regeneration will create a key business and leisure hub, not only for Newham but also for London.
I developed the sculpture to be an unambiguous form that is uplifting, inspiring and easily recognizable. I am very pleased the project has independent sponsorship from a Corporate Collector of my work, contributing to new investment in Newham and the regeneration of Silvertown.
We are proud to welcome Nassers Athena. This sculpture is another symbol of the incredible regeneration happening in the borough and will greet visitors travelling to and from London City Airport. Nasser is helping to contribute to what is already an exciting year. Residents and visitors cannot fail to see how much the area is changing, with regeneration happening across the borough. Newham is swiftly becoming an exciting new cultural destination in the heart of the east end. says Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham.
Nasser Azam (b.1963, Jhelum, Pakistan) is a London-based British contemporary artist. He came to the UK with his parents in 1970 and attended Hartley Primary and Langdon Secondary schools in Newham. Azams reputation was established in the early 1980s, with exhibitions at galleries in Birmingham and the West Midlands, including the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. He also featured in a BBC documentary.
In 2007, after an extended period living and travelling in Japan, Europe and America, Azam became Artist-in-Residence at County Hall Gallery, London, mounting a series of major exhibitions of early and recent work, including the critically-acclaimed Anatomica in 2008. He began working with sculpture, and in February 2008 a monumental bronze, The Dance, was unveiled on Londons South Bank.
Pursuing an ongoing interest in painting as performance, in 2008 Azam completed two triptychs aboard a specially modified parabolic aircraft, in weightless conditions similar to those in space. Subsequently, in 2010 Azam travelled to Antarctica to complete a series of thirteen paintings in subzero conditions, using specially designed materials.
His work is included in numerous private and corporate collections, including the Sovereign Arts Foundation and the Zubludowicz Collection. A 6 metre sculpture will be unveiled outside the new research centre and library at Aberdeen University, Scotland.