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Sculpture Trail Artists

Ondre Nowakowski: Potteries Pyramid, Man Can't Fly

Man Can't Fly by Ondre Nowakowski

Ondre Nowakowski studied fine art at Manchester University and graduated in 1984 with a first class honours degree. After successful practice as a full time freelance artist he turned his attention to a career in University teaching and was made head of visual arts at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Over the last 25 years Nowakowski has produced large scale sculptures for public spaces in the UK, as well as exhibiting sculptures, drawings and photographs in Europe and America.


His artwork openly reflects the opportunity and need for visual art in an urban environment and the role public art plays in inner-city regeneration. His previous artwork includes the sleeping iron giant in Birmingham as well as being commissioned by local authorities such as: Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Fylde Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. This is in addition to making work for a number of hospital buildings, designing and commissioning new works for town centre street improvements. The ideas and themes for his artwork are often generated by the nature of the space. Taking the concept of modernism and renewal Nowakowski has created two pieces of public art for Stoke-on-Trent City Council.


Nowakowski’s first sculpture for the City is entitled, A Man Can’t Ffly. Originally commissioned for the National Garden Festival at Etruria, A Man Can't Fly found a permanent home at the junction of Leek Road and Station Road. A Man Can't Fly is situated at a busy road junction in Stoke on Trent and is also visible from trains heading south as they depart Stoke-on-Trent railway station. It is an image that reminds us that we are perhaps in too much of a rush to do too much. A brick base supports a black column with the words 'A Man Can't Fly' inscribed vertically four times on its surface. Surmounting the column is the figure of a man in an arabesque. The features of the man are smooth with no particular identifying features; appearing to represent all men. For a work designed to make people think; it achieved exactly that and has now come to be an intrinsic feature of the local townscape.


Stoke-On-Trent City Council commissioned Nowakowski again in 2008 to create another influential piece of public art to depict local history and heritage. Years working to produce steel, coal and pottery have left Stoke-on-Trent landscape scarred; Nowakowski references this in his creation of the Potteries Pyramid. The Potteries Pyramid stands illuminated. The three-sided, ten meter tall, stainless steel pyramid with an image of a bottle kiln subtly worked into the sides, the sculpture combines contemporary art whilst referencing the city’s industrial heritage. Nowakoswski uses bold and simple symbolic images, whilst being able to find poetic and profound potential in everyday observation.


Click here to go to Ondre's website

Stoke-on-Trent Sculpture Trail