Statue will be back home later this month
Wimbledon's much-loved statue, Walking Women, will be returning to Centre Court Shopping Centre later this month, following concern the artwork had disappeared for good.
The sculpture 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 sculpture has been moved permanently, and anxiety about its whereabouts.
"I'd like to reassure everyone that the sculpture, which staff at the centre affectionately call the Two Large Ladies, is going to be back, 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 sculpture whilst the council’s improvement works are carried out, but this is merely temporary, and we are delighted to let you know that the Mayor of Merton will be unveiling the sculpture on Tuesday June 12 at 11.30am."
"The sculpture 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.
"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 sculpture, striking a pose which is left up to the viewer’s own interpretation.
"The sculpture 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 sculpture 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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June 1, 2012