Statue will be back home soon
Wimbledon's much-loved statue, Walking Women, will soon be returning to Centre Court Shopping Centre, following concern the artwork had disappeared for good.
The statue (pictured right) was moved from its normal location outside the Rotunda entrance near the station when work began earlier this year.
Merton Council is currently carrying out a programme of improvements to the site directly outside the shopping centre, in preparation for the anticipated influx of tourists during this summer's great sporting calendar.
Samantha Brown, marketing manager for the centre, said there'd been a wave of concern from local people that the statue had been moved permanently, and anxiety about its whereabouts.
"I'd like to reassure everyone that the statue, which staff at the centre affectionately call the Two Large Ladies, is going to be back home soon, as we've been inundated with phone calls, emails and letters from people worried that they were gone for good," said Ms Brown.
"It was necessary to move the statue whilst the council's improvement works are carried out, but this is merely temporary, and we hope to see the Ladies back home with us in the next few weeks.
"The statue is going to be moved slightly from its original position, as it was directly in the path of the entrance to the centre, but we can promise people that they will only be moving a matter of feet, and will be returning from their travels very soon.
"This year marks our 20th anniversary, and the Ladies have been with us from the beginning, so we would never have entertained the thought of letting them go somewhere else."
The 8ft high bronze sculpture, created by Andre Wallace, was unveiled at the opening of Centre Court Shopping Centre, in September 1992.
The artwork is of two larger-than-life women, who appear to be striding purposefully towards you when you encounter the statue, striking a pose which is left up to the viewer’s own interpretation.
"The statue has invited a lot of discussion over the years, with people speculating about what they are doing, and saying to each other," explained Ms Brown. "We always knew it was popular, but the reaction to its temporary relocation has emphasised to us just how loved the Ladies are."
The statue was specially designed for the site following Andre's selection from a competition held by Speyhawk Retail Plc in Autumn 1991.
It took the artist six months to complete the two figures before they were cast in bronze by Meridian Fine Art Co Ltd.
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May 29, 2012