Keynsham artists' owl joins rest of the flock for Minerva's Owls of Bath Trail

July 02 2018
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The latest creation by a group of Keynsham artists has flown the nest to join a major sculpture trail in Bath this year.

Members of Keynsham ArtSpace have unveiled an owl decorated in a mixture of styles, which will now be joining more than 80 others as part of the Minerva Owls of Bath event.

“Emma – the Community Rail Owl” will be on show in Brunel Square outside Bath Spa Station until September 10.

The group’s design was selected by Great Western Railway, which is sponsoring the sculpture. ArtSpace chair Zoe Wilkins said the group was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Great Flood in Keynsham and added: “The design also reflects the fragility and the beauty of the planet.”

Working at the Chocolate Quarter’s arts studio, the artists – Les Benson, Louisa Coote, Jude Cron, Ann Gavahan, Allen Richards, Jemma Davies, Joe Tymkow and Sophie Galliers – took three weeks to complete the project, which features paint, textiles, dichroic glass, mosaics and ammonites for eyes.

Emma owl

Residents and visitors to Bath now have the summer to spot the Minerva Owls, which are located around the city as well as neighbouring towns such as Newton St Loe, Bradford-on-Avon, Corsham and Street.

The trail takes inspiration from the Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva, to whom the Roman Baths Temple was dedicated in the 1st century AD, and whose symbol was the all-seeing owl of wisdom.

Each owl sculpture has been sponsored by a local business or organisation and artists include wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham, Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown, Bristol street artist Cheba and BP Portrait Award-winning artist Richard Twose.

The sculptures include “Bird of Play”, which features a kaleidoscope eye to peer through, “IsamBIRD Kingdom BrunOWL, which will be at Paddington Station, Swindon and Bristol Temple Meads before returning to Bath, and “Digitowl”, which has a virtual reality headset that lights up at night.

Following the trail, the owls will be gathered together over the weekend of October 6 and 7 before being auctioned off in aid of four charities – the Royal United Hospital Cancer Centre, the Bath Young Carers Centre, the Roman Baths Archway Project and the UK Little Owl Project, which is based in Bath.

Maps will be available for £2 from outlets across Bath, including the Visitor Information Centre, Waterstones and Bath Aqua Glass, while a free app is available to download by scanning a QR code on the sculptures.

Visit https://minervasowls.org/ for more information.

  • Photos Paul Gillis