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'This trail will stop visitors in their tracks' - renowned artists open Thetford Forest installation

PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 04 October 2019

Artist Lisa Wright, and theatre designer Tom Piper with one of their installations, Forest Venus, at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Artist Lisa Wright, and theatre designer Tom Piper with one of their installations, Forest Venus, at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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It all started 100 years ago with a single sapling.

The figure of David from the David & Daphne installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe figure of David from the David & Daphne installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Now the Forestry Commission is celebrating a century of conservation work at Thetford Forest with the launch of Future Forest - an art installation celebrating custodians throughout the years.

The work features a trail of six life-size sculptural figures created by internationally renowned artist Lisa Wright with the installation designed by artistic director Tom Piper.

It took more than two years to complete and for Ms Wright it was a new creative challenge.

She said: "Tom and I have worked on the project for about two and half years to create six very individual installations that work as a trail through the forest.

Sophie Ridsdale, eight, takes a close look at Marathon Boy in a forest clearing at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSophie Ridsdale, eight, takes a close look at Marathon Boy in a forest clearing at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"The sculptures are based on classical sculptures as well as thinking forward to the future. They represent various contemporary custodians that we can translate in terms of their historical context and now in terms of the future.

"It's creatively been extraordinarily challenging, I'm a painter and I normally work two dimensionally and this project has encouraged me to think about creating figures that feel as though they have stepped out of a painting and are realised in this space as future custodians."

The Forestry Commission looks to inspire the next generation of custodians and raise awareness of the importance of trees and woodlands amid a "climate crisis".

Khaira Creswell, director of the Forestry Commission's centenary programme, said: "This sculpture trail will stop visitors to Thetford Forest in their tracks, both for the beauty of the figures and the drama the installations bring to the landscape.

Venus in the Clouds installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYVenus in the Clouds installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"Amid the climate crisis, England's trees and woodlands have never been so important for people and nature.

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"As our centenary year draws to a close, we want people to pause and consider their role as custodians of our forests, helping us to protect and enhance them for the next 100 years."

"Hopefully visitors to the forest will engage with the figures and start thinking about how important it is to be mindful of the environment and climate change."

Deep in the forest is The Three Graces installation representing 'Youth', 'Mirth' and 'Elegance' at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDeep in the forest is The Three Graces installation representing 'Youth', 'Mirth' and 'Elegance' at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Future Forest will be open from Friday, October 4 until Saturday, May 30 2020.

For more information go to www.forestryengland.uk.

The sculptures

Future Forest explores the history of conservation over the past 100 years. With the creation of six sculptures around a forest trail, each tells a different story.

-Forest Venus - Forest Venus is based on the most famous ancient Greek sculpture the Venus de Milo. It stands in a shelter similar to the dens that many visitors to the forest create while exploring.

Artist Lisa Wright, and theatre designer Tom Piper with one of their installations, Forest Venus, at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYArtist Lisa Wright, and theatre designer Tom Piper with one of their installations, Forest Venus, at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

-Cupid and Hymen - This piece celebrates High Lodge's history of rabbit farming which was essential to the surrounding economy until the early 20th century.

-The Three Graces -These figures peer out of planks which form a structure highlighting climate change.

-Marathon Boy - Based on ancient Greek sculpture it is placed in a small clearing caused by the disease needle blight.

-Cloud Venus - Overlooking an area of recent tree felling it depicts the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

The Forest Venus installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Forest Venus installation at the Future Forest sculpture trail in Thetford Forest. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

-David and Daphne - Inspired by David and Goliath and the story of Apollo and Daphne it explores the theme of securing the forest's future.

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