‘Thought-provoking’ new statue focused on refugee crisis is unveiled in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 12:11 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:11 15 June 2018

Ian Wolter, the sculptor, Mayor Paul Fairhust and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Ian Wolter, the sculptor, Mayor Paul Fairhust and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Saffron Photo 2018

A life-size sculpture of six children in poses echoing The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin has been unveiled in Saffron Walden.

Lord Alf Dubs and the sculptor Ian Wolter. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTOLord Alf Dubs and the sculptor Ian Wolter. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

The Unaccompanied Children of Calais was unveiled on Friday (June 8) by the sculptor Ian Wolter and former refugee Lord Alf Dubs. The mayor of Saffron Walden. Councillor Paul Fairhust, was in attendance.

One of the figures holds a lifejacket in place of the city key held in Rodin’s original and the piece is designed to provoke debate about the inhumanity of the response to the children caught up in the current refugee crisis.

The Burghers of Calais, one edition of which is permanently situated outside the Houses of Parliament in London, was commissioned to memorialise a moment during the Hundred Years’ War in 1347 when Calais had been under siege by the English for more than a year.

King Edward III offered to spare the people of the city on condition that six of its burghers would surrender themselves.

Ian Wolter, the sculptor, and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTOIan Wolter, the sculptor, and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Although they expected to be executed, the burghers’ lives were eventually spared by the intervention of the English queen.

Calais commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884 and the work was completed in 1889.

Mr Wolter said: “The Unaccompanied Children of Calais evokes a parallel narrative: the sacrifice being demanded of these young people for our “greater good” the numerous public and political voices calling for them to be used for political leverage, and the potential for humanity to yet hold sway.

“The sculpture has been cast in bronze like The Burghers of Calais and the life-sized child figures should be attractive for children to explore and play among, adding to the thought-provoking nature of the piece: anyone could become a refugee.”

Ian Wolter, the sculptor, and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTOIan Wolter, the sculptor, and Lord Alf Dubs. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Ian, a graduate in fine art from Cambridge School of Art, lives in Essex with his wife, the author Clare Mulley, and their three daughters. Les Stanley made the castings and assembled the bronze from Ian’s original sculpture.

The first edition has been unveiled by St Mary’s Church in Saffron Walden and further interest has been received and other permanent and temporary sites are being sought.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Most Read

Latest from the Royston Crow

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists