Most Capetonians will remember with pride and nostalgia the semi-final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was hosted at the Cape Town stadium. In 2011, the Green Point Park was opened as a permanent and tangible contribution to public space in the city and a reminder that the world cup was a catalyst to constructing this positive place.
Today the Green Point Park has become an icon next to the Stadium, abuzz with school children during the day, mum’s and small children, and enjoyed by all citizens in the early evening who go there to walk, enjoy the fresh sea air and take a respite from the bustle of the city. One of the strengths is the main axis through the park – an avenue that runs diagonally from Helen Suzman Boulevard to the east, towards the Mouille Point lighthouse on the west, a strong linkage with the Seapoint beach and promenade (see aerial photograph). The park is not isolated on the common. It is naturally integrated within its local context and thus becomes a wonderful pearl within the Green Point Common enclave.
The City of Cape Town recently made a decision to install two sculptures that were carefully selected amongst proposals from other artists (one can imagine that a position of one’s artwork in the Green Point Park is hotly contested), as not only a contribution to placemaking but as a memorial of the events that have taken place and influenced the formation of the area – consequently reinforcing public identity. Thus each one has a dual layer of meaning.
Keith Calder’s creation “Slide Tackle” is a 500 kilogram bronze statue that reminisces about some of the memorable and acrobatic moves that took place during the nail biting games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was decided to place this statue at the Eastern gateway that lies at the junction of Helen Suzman Boulevard and Vlei road. This gateway is essentially the front entrance to the park as it draws the public in from the city side. Vlei road links perpendicular to the Cape Town stadium to the north, thus this statue is the “FIFA memorial”.
The Western gateway lies on the edge of Bay road, at the edge of the axis with the Mouille point lighthouse, the beachfront and the Sea Point promenade. Therefore it was decided to place a 7.500kg sea anchor in memory of the maritime history and life that has passed Cape Town’s shores. The anchor, which is 2.4 metres wide and 3.2 metres high, belonged to the cargo ship the MV Silverfjord which regularly docked at Cape Town on its travels from Europe to the USA.
An interesting tension is created between the two sculptures as one is a relatively new piece (Slide Tackle) and the other is old and the visible signs of aging are present. Thus as one walks from the Eastern gateway to the Western gateway it is as if one is transported through a passage of time that links present with past.
The sculptures are currently being installed in the park.
By Mary Anne Constable
This article originally appeared on Future Cape Town, inspiring a more liveable city.