Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth left devastated after vast Lunar Park dinosaur is burnt down

By Richard Moss | 01 October 2010
a photo of a large dinosaur model in a park
© aspex gallery
The chairman of Portsmouth's aspex gallery has spoken of his sadness after a suspected arson attack destroyed the giant Lunar Park dinosaur artwork on South Sea Common.

Ultrasoarus, a 16m-tall steel and polyester model designed by artists Heather and Ivan Morison, was made from parts of the Yugo car factory in Serbia. It was a popular resident in Southsea throughout the summer, until it was reduced to a smouldering framework in the early hours of October 1.   
Norman Armstrong, chairman of aspex visual arts trust, expressed the Gallery's "disappointment and sorrow that something that had been so loved and appreciated has almost certainly been destroyed by an act of vandalism."

"It is a very sad moment for all those involved in bringing Luna Park to Portsmouth, with the huge effort that took," he added.  

The Arts Council-funded artwork was originally co-commissioned by three galleries - with Firstsite in Colchester and Cardiff-based Chapter teaming up with aspex gallery to host it.

It was due to be installed in Colchester on October 10 before moving on to Cardiff, but Council chiefs in Portsmouth were said to be keen to cash in on its popularity and return it to Portsmouth permanently.

"Of course this also deprives Colchester and Cardiff of their opportunity to host Luna Park and I know the team will be working hard today to put in place a strategy to deal with both the impact for Aspex and for all those involved in this project," added Armstrong.

A fire crew was called out to the blaze at 2.40am. They spent 45 minutes tackling the fire and damping down the remains of the structure.
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