Vote Now for a New Public Artwork

Last month, ‘a space’ arts released an open call, inviting artists to submit their ideas for a new public artwork. A message to Southampton locals, commuters and tourists, the artwork will be printed on a banner and installed at the back of The Alfred Arcade on Old Northam Road, overlooking the railway.

Having received nearly 20 applications, the ‘a space’ team have shortlisted four clever proposals which will be put to a public vote, launching today. Over the next three weeks, people will be able to vote for their favourite phrase.

Cast your vote by Friday 15th May. The results will be calculated and the winner announced on Monday 18th May – get voting!

More details on each submission below:

MOVE PAST THIS by Isaac Fravashi

The phrase, MOVE PAST THIS can be interpreted in multiple ways. Initially it reads as an advisory statement, encouraging the reader to move past the difficult times. We are reminded that even when we feel immobile, ‘stuck’ in a situation or mindset, time is always moving and often provides relief. In this interpretation the ‘PAST’ would also take on a double meaning, showing how we ‘MOVE’ from the ‘PAST’ to ‘THIS’, the present. The second interpretation refers to the movement of the train in relation to the banner. When we look at articles online or books at home we are actively seeking out text and reading. Text in public places, however, catches us by surprise. As a result, the power dynamic between reader and the word is subverted. Advertising uses this subversion, this enhanced power of language, as a tool to manipulate and persuade the reader. This proposed artwork similarly utilises the power of the imperative in public spaces, but the instruction is fulfilled in the reading and the wish is beneficial. The answer to MOVE PAST THIS is that we already have. @iaf.fanaan


The concept for this artwork is two-fold. Firstly, it is a familiar phrase, found on street guides and maps all over the world. However, most people experiencing the artwork will be passing by at speed, reading ‘you are here’ for just a moment in time. On another level it is symbolic, inviting the viewer to take a moment to reflect – they are reminded of the inevitable and to treasure every moment. That the viewer may give this continued thought as they progress on their journey adds gravitas to a throwaway line, more poignant than ever given these unprecedented times. @natalie.dowse

THIS WILL PASS by Carrie Mason

The word THIS in THIS WILL PASS can be read on many levels. Firstly, literally, THIS represents the Alfred Arcade building which will be physically passed by the readers on the train. Philosophically, THIS reflects the ephemerality of the human condition. Environmentally, THIS represents the weather, a British obsession. Psychologically, THIS could relate to an emotion being experienced by the reader. Contextually, THIS is the current Covid- 19 pandemic and restrictions we are experiencing. The phrase takes inspiration from the proverb “This too shall pass” which is believed to have originated in Persia, was retold by English poet Edward Fitzgerald (1852) and also employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln (1859). Today, the phrase is perhaps more commonly associated with the Buddhist concept of impermanence, where change is inevitable and all things, good and bad, are transitory. @carriemasonartist


The people you walk amongst in Southampton have their own diverse, overwhelming, exciting lives which continuously evolve. But we are also a city with such a community that it changes you as an individual. The work is a reminder for us to be more considerate as our experience of the city is shaped by others – whether they’re here for a day, or a month or a lifetime. This proposed artwork is intended as a thank you to Southampton for the emotional support, stability and comfort it has offered to the artist in her time here. @lochrat

Vote Now