Gallery artist, Jacob Chandler is commissioned for a large scale public sculpture for the Commonwealth Games 2022

Birmingham’s biggest cultural event sparks a collaboration between Sculptor Jacob Chandler and the region’s high tech manufactures.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is arguably the biggest international event ever hosted by England’s second city. It will see representatives from 72 Commonwealth nations compete in 283 events across 20 sports. The games will be broadcast throughout the world. No wonder some of the Midlands most cutting edge manufactures are racing to be involved with the Jacob Chandler’s latest piece, which features a para athlete and will be installed in Birmingham New Street station between 16th June and 5th September, in celebration of the games.

This opportunity has presented itself as Jacob Chandler, a Midlands based sculptor is looking for creative partners to support with the manufacture of his two and a half meter tall sports sculpture, which has been aligned with, Birmingham 2022 Festival, the cultural programme for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Already Grainger and Worrall, a global leader in sand casting complex metal shapes, have committed to the project. They have 3D scanned the piece, which has been based on the athletes Jonnie Peacock and Ben Pearson, who have supported and collaborated with Jacob on the sculpture. Grainger and Worrall’s team of experts will dissemble the scan into flat panels, suitable for laser cutting and cast a stylized blade. Their experience supporting industrial projects with design consultancy, tool design, manufacture and prototype casting, will ensure that the initial phases of the construction are in good hands.

Jacob said “Grainger and Worrall’s involvement is most fitting. Their company was founded in 1946 in the Midlands,using traditional casting techniques and is now leading technological advances in casting. This mirrors Chandler’s own story, “My family worked in the foundries of the West Midlands. I still have my great, great uncles foundry tools and an anvil from my Grandfather’s time at the Lilleshall company. I am, several generations on, still continuing the proud tradition of metal working that made the Midlands famous.”

– Jacob Chandler inspects a high quality printed pattern at Grainger and Worrall. Ahead of having part of his sculpture cast in their precision foundry.

To realise this piece without conventional project funding has been challenging but “ Nationwide Stainless Limited, were both pleased and proud to be able to help. Nationwide are used to supplying customers with diverse needs, in the past such end uses as material for MRI scanners, remote submersible vehicles, and even stainless for a prototype clean fuel source, for powering car engines where the only emission is water! This is however the first time that we have donated material to support the manufacture of a sculpture for such a good cause.”

MetLase, created through a collaboration between Unipart and Rolls-Royce, is providing the precision laser cutting. Sales and Business Development Manager Richard Gould said, “We love the industrial automotive style of his pieces. It reflects our parent companies’ markets and our own involvement in high tech, mechanical engineering. We are proud to be associated with a piece that has such an important message”. Once cut into sheets, The 3D Measurement Company Ltd, a company based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who specialise in 3D scanning and design will assemble the giant jigsaw, using a combination of 3D laser scan data and 3D CAD data to ensure the highest levels of fidelity to the original design piece.

That’s not the end of the story though as Synthetic Dark a creative agency from London will be  producing a film to document the process. Tom from the company said, ”It’s such a feel good story of achievement against the odds but what makes it even more engaging for me, is that my younger brother is the sculptor. That aside I’m excited to tell Ben’s story and in so doing provide others with an inspirational role model.”

Network Rail and in particular Birmingham New Street station, have given the Sculpture center stage on their Eastern Plaza. “This high tech environment is perfectly suited to the stainless steel piece, it is my first choice location.” States Chandler. It enables art enrichment to become part of everyday life and that is my goal.”

Once installed a VIP celebration to mark the unveiling of the piece will be hosted by All bar One, New Street. Commenting on the event, Sharon Ward, Retail Business manager at All Bar One said;  “We’re delighted to host the team behind this fantastic project, particularly as the sculpture will take pride of place on our doorstep as we step closer to the exciting Commonwealth Games in Birmingham”

Jacob chose to base, “One Giant Leap for Humankind” on Jonnie Peacock and Ben Pearson. Discussions with them as well as visits to Loughborough to watch training sessions, helped to inform the piece. The title relates to the general public’s acceptance of difference, which was spearheaded by Jonnie and the other athletes at the London 2012 Paralympics. “These hugely inspirational athletes often face trauma, agony, destruction of their self image, loss of their career prospects and endure financial hardships but they come out fighting. Their grit and determination is a lesson to us all and I’m delighted to be able to produce this sculpture, in conjunction with my sponsors, to celebrate their collective achievement. For them sports has been the panacea, for me it’s sculpting. Within this collaboration we hope to speak to all who face challenges and trust that they too will find their own way through.”

Chandler already has several large pieces of work throughout the country; a bronze sculpture depicting tackling Rugby players is situated at the recently opened M6 junction 1, Moto services. The Maxell Gardens in Telford, showcase a remembrance sculpture called “The Cold Embrace” and a three metre tall horse and jockey sculpture, “The Final Furlong”, has been installed in Cheltenham. “The Dancer”, a three metre tall bronze statue, stands outside Telford Center. The future looks bright for Chandler, who is currently working on other public pieces which are currently under wraps.

The Soden Collection couldn’t be prouder to work so closely with Jacob and support his carrier as a award winning sculptor.

Click here for a list of work of Jacobs work which is currently available to purchase. 

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