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Quirky Steel Sheep Sculpture Unveiled At New Watton Community

Tony Abel of Abel Homes right and Nigel Barnett of Fransham Forge with the new sheep sculpture in Watton 500px

A galvanised metal sheep sculpture has been unveiled in Watton - the latest in a Norfolk house builder’s programme of commissioning public artwork from the county’s artists.

The sheep, which was created at Fransham Forge by master blacksmith Nigel Barnett and his colleague Bruno Oliveira, has been placed at Rokeles Green, Abel Homes’ development of 45 energy-efficient family homes in the town.

The sculpture was unveiled by Tony Abel of Abel Homes and Watton Mayor Cllr Peter Bishop at a special event attended by residents of the new homes.

Abel Homes commissioned the artwork as part of its ongoing public art programme, which sees a new piece of art commissioned from a local artist at each of the sites where it builds new homes.

The sheep is the 15th piece of public artwork to be commissioned by the house builder since it announced the project in 2008.  Positioned on a piece of public open space near the entrance to the site, the sculpture is made of over 240 metres of mild steel ‘fleece’ on a steel frame.  The metal has been galvanised to prevent it corroding.

The sheep theme was chosen because the land on which the new homes are situated was once home to a flock of sheep.

Addressing the assembled residents at the unveiling ceremony, Abel Homes chairman Tony Abel said, “When we build new homes, we try very hard to create real communities, and our public artwork programme is designed to provide a focal point for those communities, a place where residents can meet and chat.

“The whole point of commissioning these public artworks is to help to start to bind the threads of each new community together, through sparking conversations and giving a sense of shared ownership. 

“I have no doubt that this lovely and quirky sheep sculpture will be a talking point for residents and visitors for many years to come.”

This is the second commission from Abel Homes from Fransham Forge; in October last year the firm unveiled a 1.2 tonne, nine metre long bench representing a section of Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road at its site in Taverham.