Well this is the one really, a very very special piece by Andrew Burns Colwill.
In a modest setting behind the Harbourside shops and restaurants stands a container. Painted on the side of the container is one of the best pieces of free street art in Bristol. It is amazing. I have watched as people shuffle past it without looking and then someone will glance at it and recognise what a magnificent work it is. Certainly one of my favourite pieces in Bristol…ever.
There is an elaborate story unfolding in this picture. In the middle we have two figures sitting at an hourglass table playing a game of chess. One is a modern/future man, the other on the left looks to be ancient Mayan or something like that clutching a scroll. There are remnants of a bridge behind them one side built of wood the other of stone, representing the eras these two characters come from, maybe.
Then if we zoom out a little we see more of their surroundings. Above them, floating in the air lifted by balloons with faces, is an island with a city – what it represents I am not sure, but some similar motifs were portrayed in Colwill’s Upfest piece from last year. To the right, the ruined stone bridge can be seen in its full glory, and a bomb shell is sticking out of the ground. To the left the bridge becomes closer to its environmental beginnings…more organic, and there are flowers in the foreground.
Taking another look to the right we observe evidence of civilisation in the form of a stone city on the hill, married with weapons of destruction.
Further to the right still, soldiers are emerging from a war torn forest – looking like a scene from the Great War.
To the left hand side we can see pyramids through the mist in the distance, so maybe the red-robed character is ancient Egyptian. On this side too, there are more figures, tribesmen wielding spears lurk in the trees.
The whole piece would be a fine addition to any art gallery, but here it is for all to see if only they would look. I believe the picture to be about the struggle between the environment and our close connection to it and the consequences of progress. Now I am no expert and I haven’t had the pleasure of talking to Colwill so my description and conclusion are based on what I see. What do you see? Have you looked?