Public art project bears fruit in Kings Hill
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, July 25, 2024

Public art project bears fruit in Kings Hill
Yinka Ilori, Slices of Peace at Kings Hill. Photo: Matthew Walker.

WEST MALLING.- A five-metre high, multi-coloured artwork celebrating Kent’s agricultural heritage has been unveiled in Kings Hill, near West Malling.

The artwork is the creation of renowned artist and designer Yinka Ilori MBE and has been installed in the community’s latest public open space, Orchard Park.

The installation, called ‘Slices of Peace’, is the culmination of Ilori’s tenure as Kings Hill’s Artist in Residence. A multi-sensory piece of work, it comprises one giant apple, flanked by two smaller apples as well as a soundtrack by sound artist Peter Adjaye. It was developed in conjunction with Turner Contemporary, students from University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and Kings Hill residents who took part in a series of community workshops.

The opening event gave the Kings Hill community the opportunity to meet the two artists as well as representatives of the organisations that partnered on the project. In addition to the artwork, attendees were able to view an exhibition by UCA students in the Kings Hill Control Tower Gallery.

Commenting on the event, Ilori said: “The very first time I visited Kings Hill I was struck by its rich history, its sense of community and its location at the heart of the Garden of England.

“It has been a joy to work with the project partners and the Kings Hill community in bringing this commission to reality – and I thank all of them for their input. I am delighted to see the finished work now in situ and becoming a focal point for the community.”

The apples – made from laser cut, powder coated steel – were constructed off site by Firecracker Works and anchored onto concrete plinths. The larger apple is more than 5m in diameter to accommodate people inside it, and the smaller apples are 700mm in diameter. ‘Slices of Peace’ is the final significant public art commission to be installed in Kings Hill.

Andrew Blevins, of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust, said: “This sculpture is the culmination of a 30-year development project between us and Kent County Council to transform an 800 acre brownfield site – the former RAF West Malling airfield – into the vibrant Kings Hill we have today.

“Public art has been central to our philosophy right from the beginning, helping to forge an identity for the evolving community and instilling a sense of pride in the area. As Kings Hill nears completion, ‘Slices of Peace’ helps represent all that has been achieved and the vision of the people who originally conceived of this community.”
The sculpture was designed to be site-specific to Orchard Park, which also conserves a rare national monument – a Pickett Hamilton fort from WWII – and features a Kentish ragstone amphitheatre for outdoor performances.

Turner Contemporary curated the project, drawing on its experience of leading major commissions and public art projects.

Sarah Martin, Head of Exhibitions, said: “It was wonderful to work alongside an artist as passionate and talented as Yinka, who brings such colour, energy, and enthusiasm to his practice.

“The three individual apple-shaped structures that form the sculpture reflect Kent’s rich culture and heritage, and the county’s history of apple growing. ‘Slices of Peace’ represents a space for community celebration and an area for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together to create new memories and share in new experiences. The installation aims to promote wellbeing, inspire a sense of belonging, and celebrate joy and positivity.”

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