Jason Wilsher-Mills presents a new 6.5-foot bronze sculpture that in part explores his own personal connection to nearby Walton Hall, the former home of Charles Waterton, at which his parents met while his mother was working there as an auxiliary nurse.
Wilsher-Mills’ sculpture depicts an Amazonian Caiman God holding a small ferry boat containing figures of his parents. The figure is wearing leg callipers as a proud depiction of disability and a nod to the artist’s own experience of debilitating chicken pox in childhood that left him partially paralysed. Visitors are able to engage further with the sculpture through augmented reality technology and able to listen to a new poem by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan, created in response to the sculpture’s themes, as well as access an online animated film.
“I was born and grew up in Wakefield. This sculpture is inspired by the history of Wakefield and its characters as well as my own memories and the love story of my parents. My mum spent most of her childhood in care and worked as an auxiliary nurse at Walton Hall 1945-48, which was then the maternity home for Wakefield. My Dad, Peter, was a rugby league player and coal miner. Mum would often return home late from their dates and have to bribe the night watchman to row her back to Walton Hall after the drawbridge was pulled up at 9pm.” – Jason Wilsher-Mills
This is a unique artwork about and for Wakefield and its people. Jason designed the sculpture on a computer and it was 3D printed in resin by Pangolin foundry. The resin version was then cast in bronze, one of the most traditional sculpture materials in the world.