With support from the Creative Islands, COSMOS (the Community Observatory St Martin’s On Scilly) has received funding from Arts Council England for a permanent artwork to be installed on the island.

Titled Luna – named after the Roman goddess of the Moon, the artwork will be sited outside the island’s Community Hall, leading to the Observatory. It will engage visitors and residents both as an artwork and as part of community outreach programming.

In 2018 Luke Jerram undertook a residency on Scilly, collaborating with COSMOS and developing a creative response to their astonishing night sky. Local engagement was key, and Luke spent time with residents, amateur astronomers and school pupils to understand their aspirations for the project. The Luna artwork was developed from this residency and reflects Jerram’s interest in astronomy as well as the significant role that the moon plays in island life through its effect on the tides.

St Martin’s first public art commission, Luna is a 1m diameter sculpture designed using detailed NASA imagery and topographical data of the moon’s surface. The mountains, valleys and craters will be created in perfect detail and the scale will allow people to explore and touch the moon close-up, including the usually unseen dark side (far side) of the moon.

People will be able to contemplate and explore the moon, a distant object which has a significant, direct, daily impact on Scillonian life, dictating the tides that affect access to the islands. This will transform and enhance their experience of viewing the ‘real’ moon, both in situ with the naked eye, and with the state-of-the-art telescopes in the observatory.

Alongside Luke Jerram’s commission St Martin’s-based creatives will be developing new work. Jeweller Fay Page and potter Ty Van den Berg will both be creating a new Luna range to coincide with the launch of the public art commission.

Collaborating with the local school to help celebrate the arrival of the artwork, Luna will be shipped over to the island and installed in June.

Luke said, “I’m really looking forward to working with the local school and artists on St.Martin’s through this new collaborative arts project. With pristine, unpolluted dark skies the island is such a special space. I hope that Luna will invite people to reflect on the Moon’s influence on island life and our place in the universe.”

Val Thomas from COSMOS said, “We feel truly privileged and are delighted to be the recipients of ‘Luna’, such a unique, major artwork by Luke Jerram. It will certainly be a wonderful addition to the understanding of astronomy offered by Cosmos and will provide added enjoyment for all ages, islanders and visitors alike.”