Newport Superdragons

This year, the Ryder Cup is happening in Newport, the city in Wales where I live.

On the announcement of its coming, Newport Council desperately tried to improve the image of the city, and planned ambitious shopping centres and other developments to entice visitors into the town and away from the more appealing neighbouring cities of Bristol and Cardiff.  Residents suffered the upheaval of roadworks and building sites for months, nay, years; and just as it looked its ugliest, along came the recession and the mall developers went bust.

To brighten up the place, over the last few months lots of decorations, flags and other colourful stuff has been appearing.  As well as this, lots of little Superdragons, painted by local artists and schoolchildren, are forming a trail around the town.  They are only here till 9 October and there are about 100 of them so I’ve decided to try and photograph them all over the next few months and post photos of them here.  Quite a lot are in the town centre so they will be easy to reach but several are on the outskirts too.

steel wave carousel superdragon

This one is called the Steel Wave Carousel (because it has a design of the red steel wave sculpture by the riverside) and is by Danielle Mayer.  It is standing outside the Civic Centre, just down the road from my house.

newport's steel wave

This is the wave – it was built to celebrate the steel industry which dominated Newport earlier this century.

scrum the superdragon, newport

This one is Scrum the Superdragon painted by Tim Harries.  It is in the main shopping street.

Wood superdragon

And this is the Wood Dragon, by Chris Wood. It is in the entrance to the library and museum.

According to the local council website, after the 10 week superdragons trail, many of the SuperDragons will be auctioned on October 27, with proceeds going to charities Tenovus, the chosen charity of Newport’s Mayor Cllr Bill Langsford and the Born Free Foundation. There’s a website about them and also a Facebook page where you can keep track of which have been, sadly, vandalised and removed temporarily for intensive care…

I like the new occupants of the city, even if they are only going to be around for a few months; they are a talking point and whenever I see them, there seem to be groups of people chatting about them, examining them and taking photos.   And the projects are encouraging local artists, local businesses.  Maybe that is the way forward for Newport; to build up local individual shops rather than trying desperately to attract big chain stores that you can see all over the country.  I for one would welcome that.