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Weymouth Relief Road sculpture: 'Inspired by environment'
THE landmark Jurassic Stones sculpture for Weymouth was officially unveiled earlier this month.
The sculpture, which is designed by Devon-born artist Richard Harris, is inspired by the natural environment in which it sits, he says.
It was created using boulders, each weighing between two and nine tonnes, which were revealed when work began in preparation for the Weymouth relief road.
The boulders, known as Bencliff Grit concretions, were formed 160 to 65 million years ago in what would have been a tropical lagoon.
Mr Harris said: “I was inspired to work with the large Bencliff Grit stones when they were revealed by the road excavations on Southdown Ridge – to preserve them and to give them a new life after millions of years under ground.
“The stones ‘float’ delicately above the water with a quiet energy – defying their weight and our sense of stone.
“I hope the sculpture will encourage people to think about the geology of the Jurassic Coast and the importance of the stones as indicators of the Earth’s history.”
Jurassic Stones is part of a £725,000-programme to increase art in the borough before this summer’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.
Other works of art include an artist-led lighting scheme and deckchairs designed by local people on Weymouth seafront as well as media projects for 13 to 19-year-olds. The cultural programme associated with the sailing events is expected to create at least 40 full time jobs in the Weymouth and Portland area.
The project is mainly funded by Arts Council England and supported by Dorset County Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. Arts Council England’s director for the South West, Phil Gibby, said: “When people arrive in Weymouth for the 2012 Olympic sailing events, this sculpture will welcome them and connect the vibrant and creative place it is now with the geology and prehistory of its past.”