Giant ice sculpture polar bear comes to town

By Steven Oldham

A polar bear ice sculpture measuring over two metres tall is coming to Piccadilly Gardens on March 31 as part of a forthcoming ‘Living Worlds’ exhibition at Manchester Museum.

The bear, which when complete will melt at the earliest five days after creation, will reveal an artist’s impression of the polar bear’s skeleton, cast in bronze.  

A well-known figure in the world of ice and bronze sculpture, London born Mark Coreth and  his team will recreate the polar bear in the latest of a ‘tour’ of such sculptures.  Manchester is the first UK city outside of his home town that has been chosen to host the artwork; he has previously exhibited in Copenhagen, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.  He is heading to Sydney in the summer to work outside the Opera House.

Mr Coreth said: “It’s fantastic to be able to bring the Ice Bear Project to Manchester, a city that has a great reputation for art and culture.”   He has been commissioned by Manchester Museum to create the sculpture to promote the new exhibition.

The museum’s  director Nick Merriman said:  “The ice bear is a great way to link the Manchester Museum’s new Living Worlds Gallery with the city, communicating the gallery’s main message that we are all part of nature and through our actions we can make a positive difference.”

Out on the streets of Manchester, there is positive response to the announcement.  Stella Kierney, 53, of Blakeley, said: “There isn’t enough street art in this country.  It will brighten the place up and make a talking point.”  

James Cartland, 38, of Salford, agreed.  “Seeing something like that would definitely make me more likely to visit the Museum.  It’s good an effort is being made to get the public more interested in the natural world,” he said.

The ice bear project is part of a £400,000 investment in the Living Worlds exhibition.  The exhibition will be opened by BBC wildlife presenter Steve Backshall on 14 April.

Living Worlds is an extension to the old Animal Life 1 gallery, showcasing the most popular pieces from the old exhibition and showcasing bigger, better exhibits.  Old favourites such as the sperm whale skeleton and tiger will still be there, but the gallery has been transformed after the Museum worked with top European art show producers.

STILL LIFE: The ice polar bear in Toronto, Canada. Photo copyright of Peter Ewens, with thanks

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