On Monday 11th May Halcyon Gallery unveiled She Guardian, a monumental sculpture by acclaimed artist, Dashi Namdakov, in London’s Marble Arch.
The spectacular bronze statue rises 11 metres from claw to wing tip, and depicts a female feline protecting her young. She Guardian will be placed next to Cumberland Gate, Marble Arch, against a backdrop of green parkland and urban architecture.
A deeply mystical and fantastical sculpture, She Guardian is a powerful feline defender with blade-sharp wings that rear menacingly behind her back. Her snarling jaw s and ready claws speak of a primeval urge to attack anyone who might threaten those she protects.
Dashi Namdakov commented “It took me more than 2 years to create She Guardian and I wanted to push the boundaries both in scale, material and movement, her ferocity also revealing the maternal protectiveness toward her young.”
President of Halcyon Gallery, Paul Green said: “Westminster Council’s scheme enables this spectacular sculpture to be placed in one of the most prestigious and unusual sites in the world making it accessible to the general public.”
Marble Arch was designed in 1825 by John Nash and was originally intended to host a programme of sculpture during the Napoleonic Wars. The location has been chosen to allow thousands of Londoners and visitors the chance to view She Guardian as they pass through one of London’s busiest junctions.
Cllr Robert Davis Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council said: “This is a superb addition to Westminster’s City of Sculpture. Marble Arch is our prime location for which we only use the best possible work. Hopefully this piece will inspire and delight in equal measure.”
Westminster City Council also announced that it has teamed up with StatueFindr to create a special app for iPhones and Android devices that will guide people to all the City of Sculpture pieces in Westminster, as well as the historical statues found across central London. It will be available later this summer on the Apple Store and Google Play.
The city of Westminster alone has over 300 public artworks combining historical monuments and memorials to contemporary sculptural forms.
Public Art is important as it can momentarily, temporarily or permanently reframe the urban landscape and help us experience the city in unexpected ways. The common factor uniting renowned contemporary public artworks is their scale and ambition. Set against the backdrop of dramatic cityscapes and striking architectural, their placement makes a crucial contribution to defining a sense of place.
The artworks themselves have the power to engage individuals and communities and promote dialogue. Public art is about making creative works easily accessible, placing them in the front gardens of our urban realm and inviting people to respond – to think, engage and understand.
Found within shamanism and Buddhism, such symbolic images of wrathful creatures are traditionally used for deterrence. They are defensive rather than offensive, guardians rather than marauders. These sculptures are found throughout art history – created to protect life or are noted as religious deities in some cultures, for example temple guardians bring prosperity and well-being.
In the past, animal imagery in art built up a bridge across the huge territories of Europe and Asia, enhancing with zoological topics the fine arts of Scythians and the peoples of Siberia, connecting the pre-historical and historical eras. Animals and fantastic creatures became symbols of freedom, movement, eternity …..they are either man’s guardians, defenders and protectors of home or creatures from unknown worlds, according to beliefs of the Buryats professing Buddhism or Shamanism.
Dashi Namdakov’s work is currently on show at Halcyon Gallery’s three London spaces; 2nd Floor, Harrods, 29 New Bond Street and 144-146 New Bond Street.