Friday, July 5, 2019

New Artwork Celebrates 25 Years of the Channel Tunnel

Iconic Project Celebrates Anniversary of Eurotunnel
Shipping News Feature
UK – FRANCE – Celebrations are under way with the 25th Anniversary of Eurotunnel, now Getlink, and to mark the occasion two monumental artworks have been created, one at the French entrance to the Channel Tunnel and the other on the seafront at Sunny Sands Beach in Folkestone.

The Franco-British artist YZ (pronounced ‘eyes’ apparently) was chosen to create this fresco, which extends to over 50 metres wide and 17 metres high to celebrate Eurotunnel’s 25th anniversary. The artwork is the face of a young girl looking through binoculars to the other side of the Channel. In Folkestone, her eyes look out onto a beach frequented by families.

In a video speech Jacques Gounon, Chairman and CEO of Getlink, reminds us of that classic image of two tunnel workers, one French, one British, meeting up for the first time some 25 years ago, continuing:

”On the 25th anniversary of the Channel Tunnel, we wanted to remember that we, the UK and France, share a unique link, a geographical, historical, economic, cultural link that we keep going every day. This message has been magnificently created by the artist YZ with this little girl who has a little of her in France as well as in the UK, and who looks out permanently on both sides of the Channel.”

John Keefe, UK Public Affairs spokesman said the Tunnel wall is an iconic symbol which stretches for 50 kilometres and the current project was prompted by the idea of looking beyond where one is at the moment and looking to the future, to where one might be heading, with the artwork a fantastic metaphor for the Channel Tunnel.

The part French, part British artist says that this allegory of the image of binoculars shows the inspiration from her experiences in Folkestone, where she previously lived with her family, and the memory of the excitement of seeing the French coastline from the beach. She continued:

“I really wanted to create a piece of work that unfolds in both the UK and France and which involved young people. We worked with two classes of 10-year-old pupils who wrote their own words on the entrance to the Tunnel and who became, in a way, the spokespeople for this message of friendship and paying attention to each other.”

Inaugurated on 4 July 2019, this fresco will remain on the entrance of the Tunnel over the coming years to remind one of the importance of the link that unites the two countries.A video of the creation of the piece is viewable here.