If you walk past the main entrance to the LMB, you’ll see we have a bold new sculpture standing proudly on the plinth outside the reception. Ampersand, by the artist Sam Shendi and part of his “Calligraphy” collection, will be on loan to the LMB for at least 12 months.
Although other pieces from the “Calligraphy” collection were displayed recently at the Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition, this is the first time that Ampersand has been exhibited in public. Sam describes the concept of this collection as being “inspired by the writing style from Arabic and Chinese calligraphy, using a constant single line to create a word. It becomes a combination of sculptural form and language.” In this way, stainless steel pipes covered with high polish paint “create a two-dimensional vision in three-dimensional form”.
Sam is an Egyptian-born, British figurative sculptor who often uses industrial material such as steel, aluminium, and fibreglass to create his work. Sam’s art has been exhibited around the world, from the Royal British Society of Sculptors and the Saatchi Gallery in London, to exhibitions in Amsterdam, Munich, and Johannesburg.
Finding a sculpture to fill the plinth was led by a small art committee consisting of representatives from each of the LMB’s research divisions. Ampersand was specifically chosen by Sam himself after visiting the LMB and being inspired by the models displayed in the atrium. After the sculpture was positioned on the plinth, Sam commented, “It was an absolute pleasure installing “Ampersand” at the LMB. This is the first time this sculpture is on display and it feels it was made for this location.”
Julian Gough, a Group Leader in the Structural Studies Division and one member of the art committee, remarked, “We are delighted to see the new sculpture in place outside the entrance of the LMB – it really completes the architecture by filling the empty plinth. Sam is a rising star in the art world, so it’s a great opportunity for people on the biomedical campus to enjoy this piece.”
Ampersand will be on loan at the LMB for one year initially and will be one of more than 25 public artworks on an upcoming Cambridge Biomedical Campus art trail that will link up publicly accessible art across the campus for all to enjoy.