New sculpture will mark decade since ‘Southsea Dinosaur’ stood on common as Luna Park artists celebrate its ‘page in Portsmouth history’

A NEW public artwork will pay tribute to the ‘Luna Park’ dinosaur sculpture which once stood on Southsea Common.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 4:55 am

The artists behind the 53-foot high ‘Southsea Dinosaur’ which burned down on Southsea Common a decade ago are set to unveil a new sculpture in homage to their previous public installation.

Following a decade of public demand to ‘bring back the dinosaur’, Ivan Morison and Heather Peak of Studio Morison will display their new artwork: a bronze sculpture of the original dinosaur atop a fossil Portland stone plinth.

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New public artwork for Portsmouth Picture: Mike Cooter

‘Luna Park 2021’ will acknowledge ten years since the original Luna Park, and will launch to the public on October 2 with a celebratory day on Southsea Common.

Ivan said: ‘Luna Park always existed as a story. The story of the fictitious dinosaur it was based on. The story of its making in a far off country. The stories of the people who encountered this huge stranger to their city. And the story of its shocking end.

‘It’s that last part of the story, the final twist, that has brought Luna Park closer to the hearts of the residents of Portsmouth - something sad that happened and a little shameful.

‘This new iteration of Luna Park is a celebration of all those stories, a bookmark out on the Common marking that particular page in Portsmouth history.

‘For us as artists Luna Park is one of our fondest, and strangely most successful works, and we are so proud and delighted to have been asked to continue it forwards in this way.’

The project is being curated by Aspex, Portsmouth’s contemporary art gallery.

Joanne Bushell, director at Aspex, said: ‘We are thrilled to be able to share plans for Luna Park 2021.

‘The artwork is firmly and fondly lodged in the memories of local people and lives on through younger generations as a kind of myth or local legend.

‘More than 12,000 local residents joined an independently created Facebook group called ‘RIP Southsea Dinosaur’ when Luna Park tragically and mysteriously burned down in 2010 and since summer 2020, a Crowdfunder has raised £10,000 to build our bronze replica of the goliath.

‘There is a tremendous spirit of warmth towards the original work and we are thrilled to be exhibiting it this year as part of our anniversary celebrations.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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