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David Nash sculpture marks University’s 50th anniversary

A sculpture by one of Britain’s greatest living artists has been unveiled at the University of Warwick.

Entitled Habitat the artwork by David Nash OBE RA has been installed on campus to mark the University’s 50th anniversary. The sculpture is a seven metre high column of cedar that has been shaped and carved to not only look beautiful but to provide shelter for birds, bats and insects.

David Nash said: “I chose this site for the sculpture to be a signal for the biodiversity Diamond Wood will become in the future. The sculpture will change over the years, becoming part of the wood’s eco-system as it weathers and creatures inhabit it”.

The wood used came from a blown down tree that had been growing in the grounds of Hotel Portmeirion. The hotel is located in the Welsh village of Portmeirion, site of much of the filming of the sixties cult TV series The Prisoner.

The sculpture arrived at the University on Thursday 6 August from David Nash’s studio in the Welsh countryside in Blaenau Ffestiniog via the valleys and hills of the National Park. The artwork has now been sited at the entrance to the Diamond Wood which itself is a new plantation on campus.

The woodland is open to the public and is part of the Jubilee Woods project which aims to create 60 new woods of 60 acres to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Diamond Wood is to the south-west of the campus on the Sustrans cycle path. It features native species including oaks, birch, field maples and hawthorns and incorporates paths and glades that the University hopes local people will use to explore and enjoy the natural environment.

A former artist-in-residence at the University, David Nash is regarded as one of the greatest sculptors working today. In 1996, while resident on the campus he produced a series of sculptures created from wood from local trees sourced with the help of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. After major solo exhibitions at Kew Gardens and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, his work was included in the widely praised exhibition ‘Uncommon Ground’ held at the Mead Gallery in 2014. The Mead Gallery is sited on the University campus at Warwick Arts Centre and will be showing more of David Nash’s work in its forthcoming exhibition ‘Making It’ that examines sculpture in the 1980s.

Sarah Shalgosky, Curator of the University of Warwick said: “It is wonderful that David Nash has created such a major work to mark our 50th anniversary. Not only will it attract international attention but it will be enjoyed by successive generations of staff and students and by the local people who come to share the University’s Diamond Wood.

In addition to the installation of the sculpture the University of Warwick is holding a series of events to mark turning 50.

The Mead Gallery has produced a book celebrating 50 years of its art collection. Called Imagining a University, it tells how the forces that shaped the University also influenced its art collection. The book includes illustrations of the work of over 100 artists including Hurvin Anderson, Jack Bush, Terry Frost, Andy Goldsworthy, Patrick Heron, Richard Long, Yoko Ono, Eduardo Paolozzi, Fiona Rae, Anne Redpath, Eva Rothschild, Andy Warhol and Rachel Whiteread.

In addition the University will be opening its doors to the public on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 October. It will be staging the Festival of the Imagination which will consist of a full programme of events, many of which are free but require a ticket, more details are listed at


Photocaption: David Nash with his sculpture Habitat (credit: Martin Neeves)

Further images are available online

Notes to Editors

Recently, David Nash has had major exhibitions at Kew and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and is a Royal Academician


Nicola Jones
Interim Communications Manager
Tel: 024 761 50868
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