A Lion Made of Scaffolding Roars for the Olympics


Ben Long, Lion Scaffolding Sculpture, detail, Bruce Castle Park, 2012

Local governments and arts groups across the country have been given funding to develop public art projects as part of the Olympic legacy. They are popping up everywhere now that the Games have started and some of them are amazing.

Take this mighty lion. Part of a project called Park Art, this nine metre tall classical lion ‘Scaffolding Sculpture’ by Ben Long has been unveiled on the lawn of the 16th Century Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey, north London.

Ben Long, Lion Scaffolding Sculpture, Bruce Castle Park, 2012

Built on a plinth, his presence is a reference to the traditional sculpture commonly found on the grounds of stately homes--except this isn't one. The combination of the regal lion and the builder's structural materials show the link between art and labour: a perfect theme for a government project.

Ben Long, Lion Scaffolding Sculpture, detail, Bruce Castle Park, 2012

The lion isn't the first in the series of scaffolding sculptures; the artist has also created a dog, stag and horse. He worked on a building site as a teenager. He is fascinated with the hard work of manual labour and his work celebrates the role the "construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development".

The pieces can take up to three weeks to construct and are a very public display of the artistic process. It is a bit like working with Lego. The work is all recyclable, as he just takes apart the scaffolding pieces and uses them on other pieces of work.

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