A £400,000 “ring of steel” sculpture celebrating the conquest of Wales by Edward I has been described as “inappropriate and insulting” by Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd.
The sculpture is intended as part of the Year of Legends project funded by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales and is planned for Flint Castle.
Mr Gruffydd said: “The London-based architects have specifically referenced the ring of steel in drawing up this design. The ‘ring of steel’ is the description given to the chain of castles across Wales that were built to conquer and subjugate Wales. The architects say this is to celebrate the Year of Legends but from a Welsh perspective, this is certainly not something to celebrate. It does not either reflect the many rich Welsh legends that could have been the source of a far more appropriate sculpture.
“The result of this ‘ring of steel’ and conquest by Edward I was to effectively make Welsh people second-class citizens within their own country. They were excluded from the walled towns that sprung up around the castles. It’s inconceivable that someone on the panel deciding on this matter would not have understood the symbolic significance of a sculpture that ‘celebrated’ our conquest. This is a year when we should be celebrating our legends, which have been the inspiration for many books and films including the Game of Thrones. Instead we’re getting this inappropriate and frankly insulting piece of artwork.
“I’m all for public art, especially work that celebrates and promotes the best of Wales but this sculpture is not doing that – and that’s reflected in the thousands of people who have already signed the petition.”