Dragon’s Den sculptor is Battle Festival artist in residence

Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15''Artist in residence Guy Portelli with his work. SUS-150930-154901001
Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15''Artist in residence Guy Portelli with his work. SUS-150930-154901001

Some stunning giant sculptures appeared in the grounds of Battle Abbey as the Battle Festival got underway yesterday (Thursday).

The visual arts own the first week of the festival and organisers have announced a number of initiatives including its inaugural artist in residence and a new Art Trail.

Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15 SUS-150930-154949001

Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15 SUS-150930-154949001

The festival’s first artist in residence is sculptor Guy Portelli FRBS RBA.

A long-time resident artist at Battle’s Saffron Gallery, Portelli reached a new national and international audience with his 2008 appearance on Dragons Den.

Now, in a first for Battle Abbey, a number of Portelli’s major works will be exhibited in the grounds for the duration of the festival.

Specially chosen by the artist in consultation with Battle Abbey property manager Jo Stewart, the pieces reflect the unique history and nature of the site.

Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15 SUS-150930-154925001

Sculptures at Battle Abbey, 30/9/15 SUS-150930-154925001

Several of Portelli’s smaller works will additionally be exhibited throughout the town at Battle Museum, St Mary’s Church and Saffron Gallery.

Portelli said: “I like to place my sculptures within a relevant time and place.

“With Battle Abbey’s historical significance and beautiful surroundings, it is a truly a great honour for me to become a small part of this great fabric of history that spans almost 950 years.”

Battle Festival has already trebled its visual arts events in just one year since its re-launch in 2014.

This includes another new initiative in the introduction of an Art Trail incorporating many venues throughout the town, not usually associated with the arts.

Liz Honey, director of Saffron Gallery, is also coordinator of the festival’s visual arts element.

She said: “We are delighted to again be working so closely with Battle Abbey on a major festival event, cementing our relationship and launching our inaugural Art Trail and Artist in Residence initiative with them.

“The art trail leads visitors from the top to the bottom of Battle’s High Street and beyond, with an interactive and fun photo opportunity on the Abbey Green.

“With this, the many exhibitions and the new visual arts masterclasses bringing internationally collected artists and world-leading experts to town, there’s a bumper month for the arts in store for Battle.”

Eric Ravilious expert James Russell will host one such masterclass in conjunction with the British Design British Made store.

Battle Festival runs throughout October.

Tickets and details from www.battlefestival.co.uk

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