Hands and Molecules

A disused power station glimpsed through a sculpture of a pair of giant hands emerging from the ground to cradle the molecules.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour … by William Blake (1757-1827

Some 200 years later and perhaps a world can now be seen in even smaller particles, like molecules.

The contemporary sculpture funded by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer was unveiled in June 2000 to mark the opening of the Thanet (near Ramsgate in the English county of Kent) section of the National Cycle Network. It was created by sculptor David Barnes, who received a diploma in ceramics at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in 1977, before moving to Canada in 2006, where he continues to work and teach in the foothills of the Rocky mountains.

On the distant coastline of Pegwell Bay, the originally coal-fired, the distant power station built in 1958, was converted to burn oil in summer 1971, then a proprietary oil and water emulsion called Orimulsion imported from Venezuela. Following environmental concerns however, the station ceased generating electricity in 1996 and the distinctive towers demolished in 2012.

The photograph was captured a year before the towers were flattened while I was in Ramsgate researching my Dad’s childhood in Ramsgate for my book “Flights of Fantasy”. It was March, very cold, very grey, very wintry, with a brutal, bone-chillingly cold easterly wind, but the day concluded with a dramatic sunset – and happily I was on the spot to spend a few minutes shooting the sculpture.

More details about Flights of Fantasy here


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