Newbridge Hallelujah Lamp artwork divides public opinion
WHAT’S ten metres tall, luminous green and has been described as a weed and a piece of the Teletubby set?
It’s Newbridge’s new artwork, the Hallelujah Lamp, inspired by an unfurling fern and its site’s past as a meeting place for church congregations.
The lamp was designed with the help of pupils from Newbridge Comprehensive, Pentwynmawr, Ty Newydd and Pantside primary schools.
Artist Stephen Broadbent made the installation and held workshops and spoke at each school about the project.
The lamp is based on the old gas lamp that was outside Newbridge Hotel. It is hoped it will create a place for residents to once again congregate for special events.
It is part of a number of artworks in the town costing £125,000, which also include a memory seat next to the Newbridge Memo and railings next to the town’s Calzaghe Bridge.
The lamp is already dividing public opinion in Newbridge.
Cllr Gary Johnston said: “It’s different. I don’t know what people will think of it at first but I think they will take to it.”
But Jane Jeremiah, who helps organise the panto at the Newbridge Memo described the lamp as “tacky” and “something out of Teletubby land”.
She said: “When I heard the plans, it sounded really good, butwhen I sawit was luminous green, I was shocked. My sixyear- old daughter called it the ‘Teletubby lamp’. What does it symbolise?”
Jim Heal, who runs Newbridge Trading said: “I don’t like it at all and maybe the money may have been better spent helping traders, whose takings have dropped by half (during the facelift).”
Newbridge Memo chairman Howard Stone hopes the lamp will grow on people and when all the regeneration work is complete, it will blend in.
He said: “Given time, when all the new street furniture is in place, I’m sure it’ll blend in.
“But, I was taken aback by the bright colour. It could have been holly green to fit in with the town’s name in Welsh- Trecelyn (holly town), but maybe it’s a bit too contemporary for Newbridge right now.”
Owner of Newbridge Fish Bar, Les Oldman said: “I don’t think a lot of people think a lot of it. People have said of it that it is a weed growing out of the ground.
“I know that the Calzaghe Bridge was a different story with people endorsing that 100 per cent.”
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Artwork is part of £12m regeneration of the town
THE deputy mayor of Caerphilly council, Cllr Michael Gray with his wife and consort Ruth Gray, Cllr Ken James cabinet member for regeneration, planning and sustainable development, Cllr Lyn Ackerrman, Cllr Gary Johnston along with other dignitaries attended the event to unveil the lamp yesterday.
The installation is part of the £12 million regeneration of the town secured from the European regional development fund through the Welsh government, Welsh government’s targeted match fund, Heritage Lottery, Arts Council for Wales together with significant contributions from the council and community organisations, amongst others.
Out of the £12 million, the budget set aside for the artwork elements/ processes for the town centre is £125,000 or approx one per cent – and is being funded via ERDF (£100,000) and Arts Council (£25,000) money. Caerphilly council was unable to break down the cost of the lamp from the £125,000.
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