In the roof of a house in Headington, Oxford, there is a shark. It’s not a real shark, but a seven and a half metre sculpture by John Buckley. It’s exotic and hallucinatory, and has forever lingered in my mind.
At weekends, my Dad and I often went past the shark on our way to visit one of his friends. We never spoke of it. It was just there. My Dad and his friend made models of trains just because they liked to. Thanks to them, the idea that people can make things for the sake of making has never been weird to me. It seemed if one person was making trains in their garage, another could just as easily put a 7.5 metre shark through their roof.
The owner of the house, Bill Heine, says the shark is a comment on the feelings of helplessness and impotence in the face of nuclear weapons. This seems a reasonable reaction -You reckon you’ve got a problem? Well I’ve got a shark in my roof! What the hell are we going to do about that?
For me though, the shark has always been a reminder that the remarkable is possible, and that’s something we should always strive for in our creative work.
It knocks you off balance, elicits emotion and to be honest, it’s pretty good in it’s own right - (seriously, what’s not to like?) It’s arresting, original and wonderful. We need more sharks.