Forty one works of post-war public art in England has been grade II listed by the government. The newly protected list also includes three works by Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth and a Henry Moore bronze, opposite Parliament in London. Heritage minister Tracey Crouch said: “Not only are they magnificent sculptures but they are also an important part of our history.”
The works of art now protected ‘Precious national collection’ include Gormley’s Untitled [Listening] in Camden, north London, was one of the artist’s first public sculpture commissions and dates back to 1984. The work, in Maygrove Peace Park, shows a human figure sat on a boulder, cupping an ear. It was commissioned by Camden Council to show its commitment to peace, with the park opened on the anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
Maygrove Peace Park, situated in London NW6, designated as a Peace Park by Camden Council in 1984, offers a toddlers play area, pathfinders play equipment for older children, an outdoor sports pitch and green gym equipment for use in all weathers. Its pleasant sloped contours provide a green peaceful haven, with seating along the “peace” pathway.
On 27th April 1983, Camden Council agreed to designate Maygrove a Peace Park as a reminder of the Council’s commitment to Peace. The opening of the park was timed to co-incide with the 39th Anniversary of the Nagasaki Day on 9th August 1984. The Mayor of Nagasaki replied, “We hope your Peace Park will be remembered long as a symbol of Peace”, and a thousand white balloons were released into the air. The park is proud of its peace symbols and features. At theMaygrove Road entrance, Hamish Black’s Peace Crane represents the Japanese origami crane which is linked to the story of the little girl called Sadoko, a victim of Hiroshoma. Winding up through the park is the Peace Walk, with 7 stones inscribed with messages of peace from famous people over the years. At the top of the park sits Antony Gormley’s wonderful “untitled (listening)” statue, and beneath it is the powerful granite block which symbolises “part of the old deep history of the planet… sculpted by time”. On the high slope above the playground, the cherry tree is a burst of pink blossom each spring, marking the cherry tree which continued to bloom throughout the holocaust of Hiroshima – a triumph of nature over mankind.