Eurydice Prevails: Lakeside Arts installs new public artwork

May 22nd, 2019

Lakeside Arts, the University of Nottingham’s public arts programme and centre, has formally installed a new public artwork by internationally renowned contemporary visual artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva.

Eurydice Prevails is one of a series of inverted tree works that Elpida has made over the last decade. The work will be installed in the parkland by the DH Lawrence Pavilion, and is supported by Sir Harry Djanogly — and dedicated to the memory of Lady Carol Djanogly — a longstanding friend and philanthropist to the University and Lakeside Arts.

To create the work, Elpida selected two sustainably sourced elm trees, from the University Park and a Gloucestershire estate, which had already reached the end of their natural lifespan and been felled due to poor health.

She then worked with University students, staff and members of the public to make the work using the ancient Japanese process of Yakisugi, a method of wood preservation achieved through the charring of the surface. The trees were then inscribed with metallic motifs that trace the tunnel-like galleries created by elm bark beetles — carriers of Dutch Elm disease that is estimated to have killed and affected 25 million elm trees since the 1960s. The trees will now be installed in inverted form, their roots reaching to the sky.

In Eurydice Prevails, Elpida has rewritten the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice so that she successfully escapes Hades and reaches the surface despite Orpheus turning back to look at her. The Yakisugi charring represents the depths of the underworld and the metallic motifs represent the tunnel from which Orpheus and Eurydice must travel to reach the light of the surface.

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva said:

“It is a real pleasure to contribute a public work to Lakeside Arts, whose support for artists is so strong. Staff and students have been wonderful in supporting the making of these new works. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I hope the works give as much delight to the people of Nottingham as I have had in making them.”

Shona Powell, Director of Lakeside Arts, said:

“We have loved working with Elpida as she has created this stunning addition to our public arts offer. It was important to Elpida to be able to engage students, staff, members of the public and our alumni community in its development, and I know everyone has enjoyed being part of the process. Now we hope that many more people can enjoy the result.”

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