Twin Towers artwork unveiled in Battersea

Published: 5 September 2011

A unique art work made from steel recovered from the World Trade Centre was unveiled today in Battersea Park.

The ceremony, just days before the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, is part of the formal launch event for a 9/11 educational project. It was attended by dignitaries including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the former commissioner of the New York City fire department Thomas Von Essen CBE.

The art work, which is around eight metres tall and weighs four tonnes, has been sited in an area of the park known as "The American Ground" - so called because when the park was first laid out in the 1850s this land was used to plant a wide range of native American flora and fauna.

It has been created by acclaimed New York born artist Miya Ando and is designed to be a tribute to the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 atrocities.

The monument will stay in Battersea Park for one calendar month before being moved to a permanent site in the capital where it will remain as a lasting memorial to the victims of the attacks.

It has been temporarily sited in Battersea so it can be on public display in time for the 10th anniversary of the attack on the twin towers. It would not have been possible to place the art work at its permanent home in time for the anniversary.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "It is a great honour for Wandsworth to host the launch of an education project which will bring some good from the senseless attacks on New York.

"We are also extremely proud to be providing a home for this unique art work on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  The council stepped in to offer this temporarily location as soon as we learned that there were difficulties in getting the piece sited in its permanent home in time for the anniversary.

"I would like to thank our staff who have shown a real 'can do' attitude and worked hard at very short notice to ensure that the art work can be properly unveiled in time for this landmark event."

The artwork has been commissioned by charitable organisation The London 9/11 Project. Its aim is to devise and implement an educational strategy that ensures that the lasting legacy of 9/11 is one that "builds hope from tragedy".

Its mission is to "develop out of the horrors of the events of 11th September 2001, an educational programme for schools, devoted to a proper understanding of what happened; and thereby help to reduce the possibilities of any similar act in the future".

The charity's education programme is being developed by The Institute of Education in partnership with education consultancy EdComs, under the leadership of Prof Geoff Whitty, director of the Institute of Education. Its project draws together web, video and paper based resources, together with a continuing professional development programme and visits to the artwork and also to museums.

Prof Whitty said: "Education is our principal tool in turning the appalling experiences of 9/11 into something which can give young people hope and inspiration."

Ms Ando said her intention was "to create a work that will serve as a visual symbol for peace and tolerance and which also looks to the future."

The launch event beings at 10.20am, Monday, September 5. Speeches will start at 10.30am.

Image courtesy of Matthew Reading: (L-R) Thomas Von Essen CBE, Miya Ando, Boris Johnson at unveiling of 'After 9/11' artwork in Battersea Park .