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The latest news from the Plan Projects team.

The Elephant and the Tortoise, a sculpture by the artist Barnaby Barford, has now been installed to much fanfare in Highams Park Town Centre.
 
The commission came about as a result of a public art strategy (PAS) devised by Plan Projects; the vision for the project was that, while drawing inspiration from the area’s industrial past, the piece should also resonate for the community who live in Highams Park today. 
 
The site in which the piece now sits has a distinguished place in London’s commercial history, having been the site of the Halex Factory which, for a long period of time, had a monopoly on table tennis balls.  The PAS foresaw that, in the hands of the right artist, this could give rise to a quirky and unusual commission.  
 
Most importantly, the practice sought to root the project in the local community, with the brief to the artists emerging from a dialogue with local residents, councillors, schools and businesses. A special role was played by the Highams Park Neighbourhood Forum who assisted the project team in setting up good channels of communication. 
 
Barford was able to capitalise on this through his ‘schools commission.’ This involved the artist going into local schools to talk to students about his concept, and where it had come from; a number did course-work around his ideas, giving rise to an exhibition that took place when the sculpture was unveiled.    
 
 
The final artwork, takes as its starting point an historic logo from Halex, dating from 1893, that shows an Elephant and Tortoise walking arm in arm. The rationale for the choice was its immediate connection with the site’s history and unique association the Highams Park community. 

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