The Cornerstone is a public collaboration piece which will solidify the collective experience of over 100 public participants who attended workshops and carved each their individual stone carvings. The assemblage of all these pieces will stretch over 8 m in length and rise to 2.5 m, wrapping around a street corner along one of London's most popular streets known for its cafes, restaurants, art and vibrant community lifestyle. This piece is being made off site in 10 separate sections (each ranging in weight between 1 - 2 tonnes in weight).
The Shared is a direct product of 40 hours of free, open workshops which were led in Bermondsey by Austin Emery during October 2012; here members of the local community used professional carving tools to create their own artwork from their chosen piece of stone. The resulting mass of mismatched sculptures have now been pieced together by the artist, who has added his own sculptural riffs and animal habitats but – taking on something of a purist approach - has refrained from polishing out accidental chisel marks or erasing pencil lines that mark the original public artworks.
“The beauty is in the rawness of the differences between people” Emery has said. Accordingly, The Shared is comparable to a crowd, neighbourhood or city: an energetic mishmash of flaws, clashes and harmonies that must tolerate one another to form a single entity.
By bringing together people from all backgrounds and corners of our community, this expression was realised with every chisel chop, cut and mark made, and with each moment spent together sharing this labourious and enjoyable explorational process, both physical and social elements of change are evident within this work.