New sculpture unveiled in Diss
19 May 2023
A stunning sculpture on the new Norfolk Way Art Trail has been unveiled at Diss Mere!
It is the third installation to be revealed on the Norfolk Way Art Trail, which is an exciting new art trail for the public spanning 250 miles across Norfolk. The Trail features multi-sensory, accessible public artworks that will engage local communities, reveal hidden stories, and inspire visitors to explore the county.
‘Flock’ at Diss Mere, is inspired by the flocking of flights of birds, schools of fish and the swarms of eels, which are synonymous with the Mere and the nearby River Waveney. It also represents the movements of Diss’ own residents - just as the Mere’s wildlife has migrated to Diss over the years, many different communities have arrived in Diss and explored its culture and heritage.
The sculpture’s form responds directly to the Mere, evoking its mysterious depth. Stories from the local community are imprinted on the sculpture and curated into a poem by local poet Belona Greenwood.
Diss Town Council, who lease the Mere’s Mouth from the Diss Parochial Charity, has been consulted throughout this Norfolk County Council led project, which started in 2021. The park was also considered as a location for the sculpture but given the recent beacon installation and with the town’s key vista recently transformed into a safer, traffic free pedestrian area attracting more footfall, the Mere was considered the optimum back drop for the artwork.
Community engagement has been an integral aspect throughout. The artist brief was put together to reflect feedback received from the community about where they live and their thoughts on new public art in Diss. The winning artist had to demonstrate how they would involve local people in the development of the artwork resulting in further public engagement and culminating, in January 2022, with an online poll for members of the public to choose their favourite design of four.
Flock was by far the preferred piece (albeit art is always subjective) and Diss Town Council supported the views of the public in its decision as a representative on the evaluation panel alongside the landowner, Norfolk County Council and Creative Giants. The main driver behind the project, funded solely by the European Regional Development Fund, is to inspire visitors to explore the county specifically Diss, supporting local businesses, at no cost to the Diss taxpayer.
Ongoing cleaning, maintenance and insurance costs are all covered for the next five years with a sum of funds being transferred to the Town Council, who will take ownership of the piece post project sign-off.
The artist also had to consider health & safety, maintenance, accessibility, and sustainability in its design, which is as robust, hardwearing and vandal proof as possible but please do not climb on it. It is an art sculpture, the Town Council cannot accept any responsibility for any inappropriate interaction with the piece and CCTV is in operation. We have fantastic play equipment in the nearby park for children to climb on.
Town Mayor, councillor Eric Taylor, said of Flock, “I was somewhat sceptical about the piece initially but since seeing it in situ, particularly lit up at night, I have grown quite fond of it. Lots of people have been to see it already and I’ve seen visitors engage with it in all sorts of ways. I am confident it will achieve the objective of attracting more people to Diss.”
Created by artist toyStudio, Flock will be officially opened in due course and an interpretation panel will be installed next to the sculpture to explain more about the piece and how it was funded.
Norfolk County Council’s EU funded EXPERIENCE project has commissioned the trail, which sees five site-specific artworks installed in locations across Norfolk. For more details on the art installation and the wider trail: BeNorfolk.co.uk