After a year in the making, stunning new public art has been unveiled in a significant new development at Leah Gardens, off Woodside Avenue, Eastleigh.
The four-metre sculpture of a trowel celebrates the forging of a new community and is inspired by local allotments.
Leah Gardens is the first development completed jointly by Eastleigh Borough Council and VIVID, through their Aspect partnership. Guildford artist and television star Bex Simon was commissioned to design and produce the artwork, a giant garden trowel entwined and engraved with images of allotment community life.
The sculpture was officially unveiled by Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council Cllr Keith House at a special community event attended by new residents, councillors and VIVID Chief Executive Mark Perry to mark the formal handover of the homes.
Inspired by the allotments next door, Leah Garden’s beautiful sculpture reflects the surrounding wildlife, and garden-grown produce of the allotments. In the early stages of the design process Bex worked with the local community who had the opportunity to try out forging and put forward ideas for the sculpture’s decorative elements.
The artwork, visible from Woodside Avenue, is the focal point of a new area of public open space at the heart of Leah Gardens, encouraging interaction between residents and increased usage of the area for public wellbeing.
Speaking at the unveiling, Cllr House said, “The Leah Gardens development demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality affordable homes to the people of Eastleigh. Our goal is to build new communities with quality housing and well-designed public open spaces where people can feel safe, thrive and prosper. This unique and fun public artwork from Bex Simon is a perfect addition to the locality and represents an exciting a new community created with wellbeing of residents in mind.”
Mark Perry said, “VIVID’s partnership with Eastleigh Borough Council is more than housing, it’s planting the seeds of communities built on wellbeing and bright futures. Leah Gardens and its symbolic trowel will be a long-lasting testament to our joint commitment.”
Photo caption: left to right Cllr Keith House, artist Bex Simon, Mark Perry VIVID and Cllr Paul Bicknell celebrate the completion of Leah Gardens and the unveiling of the artwork.