Mystery of Telford park's enormous caterpillar revealed

The mystery of the enormous caterpillar that suddenly appeared in a Telford park has been solved.

Alfie Bradley’s enormous caterpillar sculpture in Dale End Park which featured in a Sky Arts TV competition
Alfie Bradley’s enormous caterpillar sculpture in Dale End Park which featured in a Sky Arts TV competition

The caterpillar, complete with a human head, was created by Shropshire Sculptor Alfie Bradley for a Sky Arts television competition.

Alfie from Oswestry, who is best known for creating the Knife Angel at the British Ironworks, was asked by the arts channel to be one of the three sculptors in the Midlands round of the competition to make a piece of art for the community.

Landmark aired the round this week which saw Alfie up against Jason Wilsher-Mills and Luke Perry.

Alfie said he had just two weeks to dream up and create his sculpture.

Alfie with his caterpillar

"I wanted to express how I and others felt in lockdown, trapped in their houses. However I also also wanted to show that people could evolve in lockdown and come out of it, like a caterpillar will evolve into a butterfly."

After the decision to create a caterpillar, Alfie who started his craft as a stonemason then chose concrete and cement as his medium.

"Art can be very expensive particularly for someone on their own. I was working on a building site and I wanted to show that there are cheaper ways to create art."

"I was going to carve it from a solid block but at the last minute we were told our piece had to be able to be dismantled to go in a lift."

Alfie was delighted to have poet Benjamin Zephaniah as his guest judge.

Benjamin Zephaniah with the caterpillar

He told Alfie that he loved the idea of the caterpillar evolving and was delighted when he realised he was the Knife Angel sculptor.

"It was great that he knew about the Knife Angel and the anti-knife crime message behind it. He is an absolute legend."

Alfie didn't win the Midlands heat but said it was a great experience and he had been honoured to be asked to take part.

When the caterpillar was placed in Dale End Park there was a lot of criticism and suggestions that is was a waste of public money.

"It is really great to finally to able to explain that it wasn't made with public money and to be able to explain the reason I created it."

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