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Local Sculptor Named as First Public Artist at Cardiff’s £2bn Garden City

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A Cardiff-based sculptor has been appointed to deliver the first piece of public art to be created at Plasdŵr, Cardiff’s ‘garden city for the 21st Century’.

David Mackie, from Roath, Cardiff, has been commissioned by lead developer Redrow Homes to create a unique piece of public art for the entrance of the Gateway Linear Park, the ‘green gateway’ to Plasdŵr which will lead to its residential areas, schools and commercial centres.

The initial concept for the commission at the Gateway Linear Park focuses on the history of Penrhys Pilgrimage Way, which starts at Llandaff Cathedral and leads to the shrine of Mary at Penrhys.

The art piece will feature 12 wildflowers sculpted into the paving along the route, starting at the beginning of the park. The wildflowers, which are referred to by their Welsh names, have been named in Mary’s honour and are well known in local ecclesiastical history.

As well as echoing local history, the installation reflects the biodiversity present at Plasdŵr. This is just the first piece in a wider public art strategy for Plasdŵr, which includes design ideas to inspire every element of the community – from public art installations and historic plaques to lampposts and benches. Each piece of public art will be considered in conjunction with the community, the individual local artists and the local council to ensure each piece aligns with the vision of Plasdŵr.

An artist for almost 30 years, David has vast experience working with the local community and commissioning pieces in and around Cardiff, with some of his most famous work along the Taf embankment in Grangetown and on Tyndall St in Cardiff. The piece at the Gateway Linear Park will be his latest commission.

He said:

“I’m always keen to represent the local area within my pieces, so it was only appropriate I would focus on the history of the Penrhys Pilgrimage – in particular the wildflower representation along the route.

“The COVID-19 lockdowns have made people more interested in their surroundings and appreciative of what’s around them, including wildlife and green spaces. Raising awareness of local biodiversity through art is a passion of mine, so it’s very fitting I’ve had the opportunity to work with Plasdŵr on the Gateway Linear Park.

“The initial concepts have been finalised so I’m now working on the detail of the design, which should be finalised over the next couple of months.”

Wayne Rees, project director of Plasdŵr, said:

“Public art at Plasdŵr will help add to the sense of place we’re creating at the development, while also bringing individual character to each of our five neighbourhoods.

“Art and design at Plasdŵr will not only create an attractive place to live and to visit, but it will also champion the talented local artists and the history of the local area. Our partnership with David is the first of many public art projects at Plasdŵr and our strategy for public art will span the 20+ years of the development. We’re looking forward to seeing the concept of David’s work come to life over the next few months.”

The design of the art will be finalised over the next few months. For more information on the wider development of Plasdŵr, head to www.plasdwr.co.uk