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Turner Prize artist launches wartime memorial art in Dalby Forest

Rachel Whiteread in front of Nissen Hut her sculpture at Dalby Forest.
Rachel Whiteread in front of Nissen Hut her sculpture at Dalby Forest.

Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread has unveiled a new sculpture in the heart of Dalby Forest.

Nissen Hut is Whiteread’s first permanent public sculpture in the UK. The work has been commissioned to mark the centenary of the Forestry Commission in 2019, and is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Nissen Hut is a concrete cast of the interior space of a Nissen hut, the distinctive military structure invented by Major Peter Nissen during the war.

The work is part of Whiteread’s ongoing Shy Sculpture series, the aim of which is to cast and site unassuming buildings in the landscape.

She said: “Nissen Huts are an indigenous part of our post-war architecture. Placing this sculpture deep in the heart of Dalby Forest will lead visitors on a journey of discovery to its final resting place, a quiet memorial to these extraordinary structures.”

In Dalby, the structures were used in the forest’s 1930s work camp which offered employment and skills training to support the mass tree planting.

Ian Gambles, Director of the Forestry Commission said it was “entirely fitting” that Dalby Forest was now the lasting home of this “extraordinary” piece of art.

“Whiteread’s sculpture is a moving testament to the lasting relationship we have had with our changing landscapes over the past century,” he added.