New Public Artwork for Portsmouth in Tribute to Mu...

Luna Park 2010 by John Daniels

New Public Artwork for Portsmouth in Tribute to Much Loved ‘Southsea Dinosaur’


Aspex have announced ‘Luna Park 2021’ an eagerly anticipated new public artwork for Portsmouth designed by internationally renowned artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak of Studio Morison that will launch this Autumn. The piece has been conceived as a long-lasting tribute to their 53-foot high 2010 artwork Luna Park, which tragically burned down on Southsea Common. The artists will unveil a new sculpture that responds to ten years of public demand to ‘bring back the Southsea Dinosaur’ after a successful community crowdfunding campaign.


(Feature photo by John Daniels, other photos by Paul Gonella)

…a long-lasting tribute to their 53-foot high 2010 artwork Luna Park…

Process image for Luna Park 2021, courtesy of the artists

…launch to the public on 2nd October 2021 with a celebratory day on Southsea Common…

This new piece of public art will consist of a bronze sculpture of the original, affectionately known by local residents as ‘The Southsea Dinosaur’; atop a fossil Portland stone plinth. It will launch to the public on 2nd October 2021 with a celebratory day on Southsea Common. The work will be 1.4 metres in total.

In addition to key information about the work, a plaque on the plinth will also feature a QR code which when scanned with a smartphone will connect to an Augmented Reality experience, showing a digital rendering of the original artwork seemingly in front of the user, on Southsea Common. Viewers will also be able to use their mobile device to visit a digital archive of memories contributed by the general public in honour of the original artwork. The work will be located within a direct sightline to the position of the original Luna Park sculpture.

The project is being curated by Aspex, Portsmouth’s contemporary art gallery, currently celebrating its 40-year anniversary with a programme of contemporary art activities: ‘Aspex (life begins) at 40’ at the gallery and online. Amid the launch of a series of digital works by early career artists and an exhibition programme in the gallery, Luna Park 2021 is the centrepiece of the gallery’s anniversary celebrations.

During the first lockdown in 2020 caused by Covid-19, and leading up to Aspex’s 40th year in 2021, Aspex Director Joanne Bushnell reached out to Heather Peak and Ivan Morison to discuss publicly acknowledging ten years since Luna Park. The artists offered to make a proposal for a sculptural and digital artwork, as a tribute to one of the city’s most renowned art projects and the results will now be shown.

We are thrilled to be able to share plans for Luna Park 2021, a decade after the original Luna Park was installed on Southsea Common. The artwork is firmly and fondly lodged in the memories of local people and lives on through younger generations as a kind of myth or local legend. Luna Park is part of Portsmouth’s heritage and we are delighted to be unveiling Luna Park 2021 this Autumn. It is hoped that the piece will generate new memories for people who live here and those visiting Portsmouth. More than 12,000 local residents joined an independently created Facebook group called ‘RIP Southsea Dinosaur’ when Luna Park tragically and mysteriously burned down in 2010 and since summer 2020, a Crowdfunder has raised £10,000 to build our bronze replica of the goliath. There is a tremendous spirit of warmth towards the original work and we are thrilled to be exhibiting it this year as part of our anniversary celebrations.” said Joanne Bushell, Director, Aspex.

Luna Park always existed as a story. The story of the fictitious dinosaur it was based on. The story of its making in a far off country. The stories of the people who encountered this huge stranger to their city. And the story of its shocking end. It’s that last part of the story, the final twist, that has brought Luna Park closer to the hearts of the residents of Portsmouth – something sad that happened and a little shameful. This new iteration of Luna Park is a celebration of all those stories, a bookmark out on the Common marking that particular page in Portsmouth history. For us as artists Luna Park is one of our fondest, and strangely most successful works, and we are so proud and delighted to have been asked to continue it forwards in this way.” said Ivan Morison, Studio Morison.

…This new iteration of Luna Park is a celebration of all those stories…


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