Victims' concerns put London 9/11 sculpture on hold

Wed Mar 9, 2011 9:22am EST
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By Michelle Martin

LONDON (Reuters) - Plans to erect a sculpture in a London park using girders salvaged from New York's World Trade Center, which was destroyed in attacks on September 11, 2001, have been put on hold after victims' families complained.

The memorial, designed by Japanese-Russian artist Miya Ando, was to be crafted from twisted shards of steel ranging between 5 and 8 meters (yards) in height, standing in a pool with lights.

"It is my hope that by standing upright the fallen steel columns, I may evoke a quiet yet strong message of transcendence and the role of education in the growth of hope from tragedy," New York-based Ando said in a statement submitted with the planning application.

London's Southwark Council approved the plans last December and the sculpture was due to be inaugurated in London's Potters Fields Park this September to accompany an educational program and commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks by suicide hijackers who flew two planes into the World Trade Center, killing nearly three thousand people.

Trustees of the 9/11 London Project Foundation -- the educational charity which commissioned the sculpture -- on Wednesday said they had decided to extend a consultation period for the artwork after "significant concerns" were raised, especially by British families.

Hannah Ali, whose sister died in the World Trade Center's north tower, was one of the victims' relatives who expressed dismay at plans to craft a sculpture using material from the collapsed skyscrapers.

She told the Guardian she could not understand how anyone could even consider transforming girders which had "bodies strewn on them" into artwork.

"I find it quite disturbing, the actual design is quite raw and crude," she said.   Continued...

<p>A general view of a portion of the World Trade Center site in New York June 25, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>