IAN PENNA has produced a striking yet thought provoking piece of work as the second artist to make a new piece of work for the plinth. Inspired by his own work as a flooring contractor in some care homes in Cornwall Ian’s work poignantly alludes to mental illness in older age.
A MESSAGE SENT US BY SHIRLEY BROWN:
Just wanted to thank Ian Penna for creating such a profoundly moving installation, which aroused in me a strong compassion for the unnamed man whose once full and useful life had been reduced to a small room and repetitive routines, up and down like a lawnmower, wearing only pyjamas – implying that he is no longer venturing outdoors. It was the naval cap that really touched me, because in 1944 my then-20-year-old father served on a British Landing Craft on the D-Day beaches of Normandy, and it was heartbreaking to see his physical body gradually diminished by illness, his environment eventually limited to a nursing home bed, and his 81-year-old identity reduced to the quasi-anonymous status of a ‘patient’ before his death in 2005.
Sad as it was to be reminded of a personal loss, it was also good to be stirred with a compassion that is universal,