British contemporary artist Nicola Anthony to create Live Sculpture Commission for the UK’s cultural programme at Expo 2020 Dubai

Nicola Anthony

The Royal Society of Sculptors and the Department for International Trade, has announced today that Nicola Anthony is the UK artist selected for the Live Sculpture Commission for the cultural programme of the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai (1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022).

Under the commissioning theme, ‘See Things Differently’, Anthony will create a new work inside the Es Devlin designed UK Pavilion over ten days in November, offering visitors a front row seat to the creative process.

The commission will feature alongside a host of talent from across the UK’s creative industries, during ‘In the Future, How Will We Create?’, a five-day innovation themed event from 9-13th November that will explore how creativity can tackle some of the major challenges of our time.
The programme will include a summit on the future of creativity and panel discussions with keynote speakers and podcasts from across arts, design and media. They include Es Devlin, artist and designer of the UK Pavilion, Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A and Martin Green CBE, the Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games who is now Chief Creative Officer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Festival UK* 2022.
Nicola Anthony was selected by an industry panel led by Clare Burnett, President of the Royal Society of Sculptors, with Dr Paul Thompson, Vice Chancellor of the Royal College of Art (Heritage partner of the UK Pavilion) and Dan Ramsey, Director, GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland campaign.

Nicola Anthony said: “The sculpture is created from suspended fragments, which form a delicate hourglass shape. I often use this shape in my sculpture to symbolise important moments and turning points. In this work it also references the tipping point which we are fast approaching with our environment, and I hope that the audience will think about sustainability, balance, and regeneration. The artwork also seeks to highlight the connection between present and future actions, and how everything is interconnected in virtuous or vicious cycles. This opportunity is meaningful for me – not only because of the honour to be selected for the UK Pavilion, but also because the theme resonates powerfully with the soul of my artwork, and the reason why I chose this path.”

Speaking on the selection of the artist, Clare Burnett said: “The brief for this commission called a work that responds to the theme of “seeing things differently”. I am delighted that Nicola Anthony has been chosen to represent the Society at Expo 2020 Dubai. Nicola weaves powerful stories through her work which employs technology and data. For this commission suspended fragments will form a delicate hourglass in which LED “sand” responds to real time hashtag activity. Viewed through the hourglass, the “sand” depicts the Earth”.

Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “The UK has long inspired the world through our creative industries, so we are all excited that such an accomplished sculptor will be creating a new piece at the Pavilion. Creativity is the spark for innovation and seeing things differently is something we will all have to do to overcome global challenges. The Live Sculpture Commission will be an incredible addition to our cultural programme and we can’t wait for visitors to the UK Pavilion to experience it.”

The UK Pavilion has been conceptualised and designed by Es Devlin OBE with global brand experience specialists, Avantgarde and will showcase British innovations set to change the world, from artificial intelligence and space technology to sustainable food and fashion. The UK’s participation theme is ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.

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