Artist Miya Ando discusses ‘After 9/11’ with South West Londoner reporter Hardeep Matharu.
After 9/11, the artwork displayed in Battersea Park to highlight the importance of education about the terrorist attack, is still searching for a permanent London home.
The piece, by acclaimed New York artist Miya Ando, was commissioned by the 9/11 London Project Foundation, a charity aiming to educate younger generations as to the causes and consequences of 9/11.
Made of steel from the World Trade Center donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, After 9/11 stands in Battersea Park’s ‘American Ground’ where native American flora and fauna were planted in the 1850s.
The artwork is due to stay in Battersea until the end of the month, but a permanent site for it in the capital is yet to be found.
Wandsworth Council provided Battersea Park as a temporary home after the Foundation decided in March to conduct further consultation on the sculpture.
Despite still seeking a location, the charity’s founder, Peter Rosengard, is positive about the artwork’s future display.
He said: “Following the tremendous reaction the artwork has received from the media and the public we are confident a central London home for After 9/11 will be found.”
After 9/11 was originally to be located at Potters Field Park, next to City Hall, but the application was vetoed by the park’s management trust which said its size was inappropriate and only a radically redesigned piece would be acceptable.
Some families of the British victims of 9/11 had also opposed the use of remnants from the World Trade Center in creating a reminder of the violence of 9/11 in a prominent riverside location.
In an interview with South West Londoner, Miya Ando said she understood the concerns of the victims’ families.
She said: “Some families of the British victims have been very supportive of the artwork, but others have not and I totally understand their concerns and respect their views. They were in my heart and mind the entire time.
“I am very close to my family and the thought of losing my sisters and brother or parents to such unspeakable violence had a tremendous impact on my approach to the sculpture.”
Ms Ando said she wanted After 9/11 to represent transformation.
She explained: “I wanted to sand the steel into a mirror finish, stand something that had fallen upright, and transform the material into something that looked transcendent and ethereal, that reflected light and the sky and looked to the future while paying homage to those who perished.”
When asked about her inspiration for the piece, she said a childhood memory from Japan had played a significant role.
She said: “As a little girl, my family took me to the Hiroshima Atomic Dome Peace Memorial which had a strong impact on me.
“I remember being explained that steel is a remainder of terrible tragedy and it is now a very powerful world symbol for peace.”
Raised in a Buddhist temple, Ms Ando said she was considered a spiritual child, a quality she brings to her work.
“My intention with regard to my art has always been to put forth works that come from a place of compassion, art that evokes a sense of peace and contemplation,” she said.
“I hope this sculpture will be a symbol for the importance of non-violence in our world and help to promote a discussion about how we may prevent such a tragedy occurring again.”