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A Work of Art at the University of Leicester has Captured in Time the Human Tragedy of the 9/11 Atrocity
John Sydney Carter, Falling Man 9/11. Photo: University of Leicester.

LEICESTER.- Internationally acclaimed sculptor John Sydney Carter FRBS, curator of the outdoor sculpture show at the University of Leicester’s Harold Martin Botanic Garden, has a number of works at the exhibition.

One is a forged steel sculpture commemorating the events of 9/11. Falling Man 9/11 was a response to the collapse of the World Trade Tower. The man is made from forged steel and has become fused with the fabric of the building.

John Sydney Carter, who has been a full time sculptor since 1984 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors, commented: “I watched the television on that terrible day and witnessed people throwing themselves from the burning World Trade Tower. At the time all I could think of was the shock and horror of seeing those final moments as people fell to the ground to escape the flames.

“The image of falling people and the tower collapsing merged into one so that the figures became fragments of the building.

“For some time I could see that image in my mind but didn't know how I could interpret it until I built a forge in my studio and that was the catalyst that enabled me, through the fire in the forge, to twist and bend the metal into the figure and the concept of the falling man became possible.

“The column it sits on in polished steel stands for the towers.”

Speaking about the role of art in capturing tragedy, he said: “Art is important and can translate feelings and visual images taken from the human subconscious and make them special.

“Art can often say something that photography or film cannot. It changes the way we look at things.

“In Greek mythology Icarus flew too near to the sun and his wings burnt causing him to fall to his death. Many artists have used the falling Icarus as a subject so there is an analogy to this in my sculpture, Falling Man 9/11.

John Sydney Carter’s work is already familiar to those who know the University of Leicester. The University’s £22.5m Henry Wellcome Building is the home for two of his major works. Standing 18ft high, Vortex is one of the artist’s first pieces of public sculpture on a large scale.

The same building also houses Atomica, a 30ft high sculpture of welded stainless steel, commissioned by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Robert Burgess in 2004.

John Sydney Carter has exhibited regularly in the University’s annual summer exhibition of sculpture in the Harold Martin Botanic Garden in Oadby.

Born in Leicester, he attended the Gateway Technical Grammar School, where art was his main subject. At 16 he was apprenticed as an industrial designer for five years and attended the Leicester College of Art, where he won the best student award for drawing and painting. He was also awarded the Imperial Typewriters’ Prize for painting.

John Sydney Carter set up Carter Design Group Ltd at Foxton and was Chairman from 1958 to date. Other Leicester connections include the Leicester Society of Artists, from whom he has won both the Henton and Society Prizes for painting.

He was a Governor of Loughborough College of Art and Design and Assessor to Graphics there from 1984-1997.

Sculpture in the Garden 2009 is a celebration of British sculpture, and consists of 50 works of art in varying media, scale and design, much of it by artists of international acclaim. The exhibition closes on Sunday 27th September and, apart from Botanic Garden Open Days, is open to the public free of charge.

It is the 8th sculpture exhibition to be held in the University’s Botanic Gardens and visitor numbers have grown annually, as people come to see a new exhibition and theme each year. Individuals and local groups often come to draw and paint the sculptures set against the backdrop of the garden, art inspiring more art.

Artists exhibiting at A Celebration of British Sculpture in the Harold Martin Botanic Garden include: Tom Allan, Dan Archer, Mary Anstee-Parry, Richard Baronio, Rosemary Barnett, David Begbie ARBS, John Sydney Carter FRBS, Kate Denton ARBS, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Ken Ford, Miles Halpin, Derek Howarth ARBS, Polly Ionides, Christopher Marvell, Diana Maclean, John W Mills PPRBS ARCA FRSA, Gudrun Neilson MA, FRBS, Rita Philips, Irene Rogan, Jilly Sutton ARBS, Deborah van der Beek, Jacek Wankowski, Marjan Woude, Sheila Vollmer, Olive Wootton.

On loan from Pangolin’s Gallery – Ralph Brown RA, Jon Buck, Lynn Chadwick, Charlotte Mayer.

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