The meeting, chaired by Cllr. Barrie Hargrove, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment & Recycling, was held at St Barnabas Church on 19 March 2012 and attended by senior Southwark officers, including Gill Davies, Strategic Director of Environment and Leisure and John Wade, Parks and Open Spaces Manager, together with Cllr. Veronica Ward and all Village Ward councillors.
Background - Barbara Hepworth’s Two Forms (Divided Circle) was bought by the Council direct from the artist in 1969 for £15,000. It was stolen apparently for its metal, with a minimal value as scrap.
Insurance - The Hepworth had been insured for £500,000 but, after deduction of the excess and the like, the amount available to acquire a replacement was £400,000. The only condition attached was that the location of any replacement had to be secure and permit use of CCTV. It was confirmed that the Council had resolved that the available sum be ring-fenced for use in Dulwich Park.
Location - After consultation with the chairman of the Dulwich Park Friends, six possible sites had been identified including one near the site of the stolen work and two near the cafe. They all were reasonably near to a source of electricity so as to enable installation of CCTV. These sites were however not set in stone and other sites were possible. A plan showing the locations of the six currently proposed sites will be available on the Council’s website.
Commissioning Plan - A paper prepared by the Council was distributed and a brief summary given. The principal options set out in this paper were:
All of these options would involve the formation of a representative commissioning panel to make recommendations which could be referred to wider public consultation at an appropriate time. It was suggested from the floor that Ian Dejardin, the Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, who was present at the meeting, be a member of this panel and he agreed to this.
The paper outlined the pros and cons of each of these options. A disadvantage of the limited competition was that a design fee of between £500 and £1,000 per artist would have to be paid. In answer to a question from the floor, it was acknowledged that high profile artists, Anish Kapoor was mentioned, were unlikely to participate in such a competition. If any work was to be commissioned from them they would probably have to be individually approached.
There followed a discussion based on questions from the floor. Amongst the suggestions made were that:
Next steps Southwark will organise a steering committee to consider the various proposals made with a view to making recommendations on the way ahead, to be followed by further public consultation meetings with the local community.
In general, Southwark showed a willingness, within the constraints of its resources, to engage constructively with this project with a view to reaching a decision that broadly meets the wishes of the community.