‘Of Earth and Sky’ poetry installation

I was delighted when the key line from one of my poems ‘On Beautiful Sky‘ was selected to feature as one of twenty four installations around the town of Scunthorpe (North Lincolnshire) from 6th August to 2nd September 2021. It was part of artist Luke Jerram‘s ‘Of Earth and Sky‘ artistic concept, which was being hosted at Scunthorpe by the 2021 Visual Arts Centre .

At the skate park in Manor Park, Scunthorpe, where a line from my poem ‘On Beautiful Sky‘ was used as part of the ‘Of Earth and Sky’ art installation (6 Aug – 2 Sep 2021)

The lines for all of the poems selected were either printed onto pavements or as individual block-lettering, mounted on metal-frames in ‘Hollywood-sign’ fashion. My line was installed in print form at Manor Park in the south of the town, where the young people go skateboarding. This was the first time my work had ever been used by anyone else, so for it to be included in an art installation by such a well-known, international artist, was a real thrill for me. It was great to see the young people at the skate park tracing the wavy line of my words as they wheeled along the half-pipe!

The line “And swear it here on Beautiful Sky” in the middle of the skate park

On Beautiful Sky‘ is a poem about the climate crisis and our promise to take action and prevent the kind of catastrophe that is currently predicted by many scientists. The key line for the poem is:

“Believe your promise is not a lie, and swear it here, on Beautiful Sky.”

This is the line that was selected for the art installation, and I think it’s fitting that they chose to situate it in the skate park, where young people gather, and which also overlooks some coal-fired power stations on the horizon. Ultimately, it’s the younger generations who will inherit ownership of the climate problem and they may have the power to succeed where previous generations failed. (View details about the ‘Of Earth and Sky’ installation at Scunthorpe).

The ‘Of Earth and Sky’ concept is a really clever way of engaging and including communities in the production of the artwork, and giving them a sense of ownership in the installation.

I felt the effect of this myself when my poem was included in the project, and it was brilliant to later see that Luke Jerram and everyone at the 2021 Visual Arts Centre were rewarded for their efforts when ‘Of Earth and Sky’ won ‘Best Arts Project‘ at the Hearts For The Arts Awards in 2022. My congratulations to the artist and all of the organisers and staff.

by Sam Bartle

(Read more of my poems here)

‘Of Earth and Sky’ at Scunthorpe, promotional video (6 Aug – 2 Sep 2021)