Balm Green Gardens, Sheffield
Sheffield City Council
The Sheffield Covid Memorial is inspired by the beauty and strength of the willow tree. The sculpture is formed from bent stainless steel tubes which represent the branches of the tree, twisting and turning before coming together to create the trunk, a symbol that as a community we are stronger together and that by supporting each other we can withstand adversity. The willow tree has a limber and supple structure bends to accommodate strong winds and adverse weather instead of breaking meaning it has become a symbol of resilience. Architecturally the form of the Willow tree with its far-reaching branches hanging down to the ground creates a welcoming, sheltered, protected space underneath which can be used for people to gather, remember and leave flowers on anniversaries.
The sculpture will incorporate messages from the local community as well as add new ones. These messages will include reflections on people’s experience of the pandemic, tributes to loved ones and messages of thanks to healthcare workers. They will be embroidered onto long ribbons that represent the long flowing leaves of the willow tree and will be attached to the tree’s branches. The geometry of a willow tree is ideal for this function as the branches reach down to the ground making it easy for people to read existing messages as well as attach additional ones each year allowing the sculpture to grow over time.
The sculpture will be fabricated in Sheffield using stainless steel and the surrounding landscape will include Yorkstone paving, bespoke lighting and a community garden.