News / Art

Welsh iron ring sculpture put on hold after being dubbed “monument of oppression”


The Iron Ring: photo courtesy of George King Architects

Plans for a new iron ring sculpture at Flint Castle in Wales have been scrapped due to public petition.

Following a nationwide competition, earlier this week George King Architects was selected by the Welsh Government to design an art piece that signifies the Wales’ Year of Legends celebration. Their proposal, that took the form of a large circular structure, was intended to symbolise the “relationship between the medieval monarchies of Europe and the castles they built,” according to the architect. 

George King, owner of the George King Architects company, previously said: “The structure will take a balanced form to demonstrate the unstable nature of the Crown.” However, more than 7,000 people called for the design to be dismissed after the iron ring was branded as “disrespectful” and a representation to the “subjugation” of Wales.
“The London-based architects have specifically referenced the ring of steel in drawing up this design. The result of this ‘ring of steel’ and conquest by Edward 1 was to effectively make Welsh people second-class citizens within their own country,” says Llyr Ap Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Assembly member. 

“We recognise that art divides opinions, encourages debate and can be interpreted in many ways and that combining history, art and place can often lead to powerful emotions and passions,” says a spokesman for Cadw in response to the public outcry. “These plans are about investing in Flint, increasing visitor numbers and growing the local economy. The proposed sculpture would also provide a unique opportunity to promote Welsh steel, as well as tell powerful stories that continue to shape our lives today.”

Economy secretary Ken Skates announced a “pause” to review the design. “We have listened and recognised the strength of feeling around the proposed art installation at Flint Castle and feel it is only right that we now take a pause and review the plans for the sculpture,” he says.

“Working closely with local partners we will continue to work on proposals for developments at Flint, including reviewing new visitor facilities.”