Snake Play-Sculpture (Coulby Newham, Peter Hand, 1986)

Photo from the Evening Gazette

Status: Removed (Location Unknown)

Anyone who – like myself – spent any time at the Parkway Centre in Coulby Newham as a kid will feel a little shot of nostalgia at this one. This snake was one of a series of “play sculptures” by Peter Hand, who has instantly become a new fascination of mine. I’d love to know what happened to this one.

It wasn’t just Middlesbrough that had one of these; Manchester had a camel and a rhino, Southend a crab and lobster – Wellingborough even stumped up for a dragon.

The snake appeared in 1986, when the centre was opened to the public (I remember many an afternoon spent furtively leafing through Viz annuals at the bookshop). The black and white photo is from the Gazette, while the other two are from Peter Hand himself. If you’re interested in seeing his other works you can find info here.

Intrestingly. Peter didn’t just make play sculptures, but worked in numerous disciplines making diverse and unique art, culminating in a sadly-aborted lifelong work known simply as “The Project“. This series made use of the ideas of psychiatrist Carl Jung, as Peter explains:

“I was intrigued by his descriptions of the Archetypes of the Unconscious and how these fragmentary, primitive, personalities can, through dreams and fantasies, influence our daily existence. I understood that the underlying causes of my marriage break-up was an irresistable, destructive impulse from my Unconscious – which I later tried to represent in my sculpture called “the Succubus.”

I hesitantly recommend giving it a look, if only for its curiosity value.

Thanks to Tony Duggan for taking me down memory lane.

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