Gary Drostle sculpture for Bow’s Leopold Estate is money for old rope

It looks like money for old rope for sculptor Gary Drostle unveiling his latest masterpiece.

Poplar Harca housing organization spent a fortune revamping their Leopold Estate at Bow Common, in London’s East End.

They commissioned Gary through Bow Arts to come up with something symbolic to mark the regeneration by creating a ‘homage to the community’ with the East End’s rich history.

Gary’s theme was rope-making which was a thriving industry around the docks in the days when sailing vessels once jammed up the Thames.

But he had his eye on the future and decided to work with kids from St Paul’s Way School next to the estate to create his colourful, 12ft sculpture. The youngsters’ research showed the area was once home to the rope-makers for the docks.


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“The Future is as important as the past,” Gary explained. “That’s why I wanted to work on the project with the youngsters—it’s part of their future while it also connects them to the past.”

Each strand of rope identifies a different immigrant community down the centuries, Irish, French Huguenots, Ashkenazi Jews, East Europeans, Chinese, Asians and Africans, all inter-twined to create a unified cable through time and inspired by patterns that the East End’s textile industry was famous for.

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The result is Gary’s spiralling 12ft mosaic sculpture, a new East End landmark twisting round to look at the past, then twisting back to the future.

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