Preston Artist Homecoming Project
Dec, 4 2021
To be commissioned to produce artwork for a landmark part of a city is a real honour for any credible artist and for UCLAN graduate Halima Cassell MBE it means so much more.
Halima was a University student in Preston in the late 1990’s on a course in 3D Design. She returned to UCLAN in 2002 to complete an MA in Design.
Nearly 20 years later her work is now on display at the University of Central Lancashire’s new square. It’s an eye - catching sculptured granite artwork and is designed to revitalise the square having remained the same for the past 70 years. It is located on the Fylde Road entrance to St. Peters Gardens and marks the entrance to the University.
Halima has also created several decorative bookends for planter seats around the 5,000 square metre space, which are integrated into the structure of the seats and provide identical signposts to the Square’s four entrances.
All of these pieces of work have been machined out of granite by Hardscape to Halima’s designs.
For Halima, it really is like a homecoming exhibition when it comes to displaying her work as she explains,
“I was delighted when UCLAN asked me to contribute to it’s University Square project. Like any artist, to have your work in the public domain is a great honour, but for it to be included at the place when my career began is something else. I spent a lot of my formative years at UCLAN and it’s a place where I developed as a person and as an artist. I hope people will enjoy my work and interact with it. I’ve designed it to be very tactile”.
To discover the secrets of Halima’s work please watch this short 4 minute film:-
Halima has maintained a relationship with UCLAN throughout her career with regular visits to provide guest talks and attend events and exhibitions.
She is one of three artists to contribute to the new University Square and Student Centre development.
She describes her work ethic and the naivety of her youth,
“My mantra has always been to be patient, work hard and keep doing what I love, so I hope my story is an inspiration to the next generation of artists. My 19 - year- old self would never have believed that one day I would work full time as an artist and play such an integral part in this fantastic new Square”.
The Square is part of the culmination of UCLAN’s Masterplan project, launched in 2015. The vision statement set out to create a state-of-the-art sustainable campus for students, staff, visitors and communities for years to come.
^Alex Ashworth CCG Art Blogger