For St. Agnes
For St Agnes is a permanent work created in 2010 by Graham Fagen for the park of the same name in St Pauls, Bristol. Consisting of bronze plaques set at the four entrances to the park, the work explores the appropriation of text and image by individuals, groups and nations, and how such symbols can transcend cultural boundaries to become new signifiers for both the history and future of communities.
Embedded in the paving at the four entrance points into the park the plaques serve as frames or signs towards a journey into the communal green space. Each plaque depicts a different image: a red rose accompanied by the text ‘Where the Heart Is’, a palm tree accompanied by the phrase ‘For I And I’, and two text panels reading ‘Rest England, Peace Mandela’ and ‘Mandela’s Peace, England’s Rest’.
Fagen’s commission for St Agnes Park is carefully woven into the fabric of the local community, drawing upon shared images and symbols to denote ideas of home. Placed within the paving of the park the bronze plaques are literally embedded into the landscape of the area. Subtle and unimposing markers, they are ridden across, walked over, as often unnoticed as commented on. Marking each point of entry to the park the plaques seem closer to a domestic tradition rather than one of civic display: recalling household doormats creating signs of welcome – encouraging visitors over the threshold.
For St Agnes was commissioned and funded by Bristol City Council with additional support from The Big Lottery Fund, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee and Places for People.