Nova Festival this weekend

A shouting sculpture of Hitler, a boarded up library and a self-toppling Saddam Hussein statue all feature in Nova Festival’s concept art golf course.

The inaugural Nova Festival of Arts and Music - the brainchild of former Big Chill collaborators Katrina Larkin and Victoria Burns - begins at Bignor Park on Thursday July 5.

Nova seems certain to be compared to the early Big Chills, but organisers are keen to promote it as an art festival which includes music, rather than a music festival with other arts involved.

This week, artists have been hard at work creating an Adventureland Golf course - a unique blend of crazy golf and conceptual art, curated by Doug Fishbone.

Each hole of the course includes an installation or statue.

“The artists were free to do whatever they wanted,” he said, “and their work will be politically and conceptually challenging in an unexpected way.

“Mini or crazy or adventure golf is usually a very conservative thing, so we are going to push the envelope quite a bit – if the artists raise issues that might not normally be seen on a golf course, I promote that 100 per cent.

“No windmills or pirates here!”

Profits from Adventureland Golf’s £1 course entry fee will go to ActionAid’s reconstruction work in Haiti.

Doug himself came up with a self-toppling Saddam Hussein statue to adorn the course.

“I wanted to infuse the project with a political edge, and play with the conventions of the mini golf course a bit,” he said.

“Since Saddam tilts over, he works like a conventional obstacle designed to distract the putter by moving while he or she is taking aim.

“Using Saddam in such a leisure context brings to mind the idea of the Great Game, the imperial politicking in Central Asia in the 19th century, and imply that not only is it still going on, but it is still treated as a game in the West, with remote-controlled drones and people ignoring the greater human consequences.

“And it touches on the ludicrousness of monumental public sculpture, one day you are the boss, adorning the city square for all to admire, and the next you’re kicked over and flung on the scrapheap of history, only to be resurrected as a bit of ironic, hipster fun. Or forgotten altogether.”

Other contributions include: a dozen neon signs scattered around the site, displaying slogans to encourage the players; a boarded-up library; a carpeted tropical island; and a moving Hitler sculpture, saluting and shouting at the players.

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