Walsall's latest attraction - an inflatable floating 21 foot high Argonaut which celebrates disability

Walsall is getting a new resident next week - a 21 foot high inflatable psychedelic Argonaut who will be catching rays in the town for the rest of the summer.

An artist's impression of the Walsall Water Argonaut
An artist's impression of the Walsall Water Argonaut

Residents will be able to get their first glimpse of the £10,000 Walsall Water Argonaut on Wednesday when he is installed on the lake in Walsall Arboretum Park.

And this being the 21st Century the Argonaut is more than just a pretty face, visitors will be able to point their phone at it and it will immediately display personalised pictures and information.

Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills co-designed the Argonaut with local disabled people as a celebration of disability in the Black Country.

He said: "It has been a challenge, but one which I have relished.We’ve placed the sculpture inside a life buoy, which is adorned with some of the artwork that was created by disabled groups, both in the region and beyond."

To design the piece Jason, who has a disability himself, worked with over 60 other disabled individuals to complete the floating sculpture.

He said: “When I work with groups I ask them to identify things that they really enjoy; places where they want to be, people they want to be with. It’s all about aspirations and telling their stories of what it is to be disabled at this point in time.”

“I want people to smile when they first see him, and then I want them to stop and think. He is what I call a ’Trojan horse’; in the sense that the viewer simply thinks it is a bit of colourful fun, but then they see those beautiful disabled faces which adorn the surface, and I hope this will make them think about some of the issues relating to the work.

"Throughout covid, disabled people were the group which were so greatly affected. 60 per cent of people who died from the pandemic were disabled. Also we are at a very sad time in history when hate crime against disabled people is at an all time high, so I want to create art which reflects this, and challenges attitudes.

I believe just being angry and shouting is not enough. I aim to entertain and make people laugh and smile, in order to make them think. I cannot wait to see him at his new homes in Walsall. I hope the locals take him to heart, as he was built from love.”

The project is supported by Arts Council England and in collaboration with Walsall Council Healthy Spaces, Creative Black Country, The Canal & River Trust, The New Art Gallery Walsall and Birmingham Festival 2022. Creative Black Country funded the £10,000 Walsall sculpture which is part of a larger £100,000 Arts Council England project which created the

The Walsall Water Argonaut will be on the lake in Walsall Arboretum Park from August 10 – August 22 and Walsall Canal Basin (next to The New Art Gallery Walsall) from August 23 until September 2.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News