A unique display of 50 concrete lions has been installed on Burnham’s seafront this week at the start of a month-long display for Somerset Art Weeks.
The concrete structures are symbolically guarding Burnham’s coastline as part of a special art project on the South Esplanade.
Artist Rebecca Moss, pictured, has modelled her army of 50 Chinese-style ‘Foo dog’ lions from a pair of 18th century statues that sit by the quayside in Bridgwater.
Rebecca took inspiration from William Ackerman’s Castle House in the town, which is believed to be the earliest surviving example of modern reinforced concrete construction in Britain.
The project, called ‘Guardians’, has been commissioned by Somerset Art Weeks for this year’s festival which runs until 18th October.
Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are delighted that the Somerset Art Week installation on Burnham-On-Sea South Esplanade is to remain in situ for the entire month of October, thus covering the half-term holiday which is important for the town’s tourist trade.”
“Staff at Sedgemoor have been involved with the planning of the art installation for many weeks, giving advice on the safest and most visible place for the Lions, as well as dealing with the organisers over insurance, health and safety and have given permission for them to be placed on the South Esplanade.”
“During the month-long installation, staff from Sedgemoor’s Clean Surroundings section will keep a daily eye on the statues.”
Rebecca said: “By mounting the lions near the sea wall, I want people to consider the contrast between the functional and ornamental uses of concrete.”
“I want to interpret the fascinating local industrial heritage to explore the significant change that happened when ornamental features were mass-produced by pouring concrete into moulds.”
“Before this change occurred, decorative architecture would have been hand sculpted in stone over a long period of time,” she added.