A new piece of public art has been unveiled within the direct sightline of a huge dinosaur sculpture that was destroyed by fire on Southsea Common ten years ago this week.

Luna Park dinosaur statue
The Luna Park dinosaur statue erected on Southsea Common. Picture credit: Strong Island. Courtesy: Aspex, 2021.

The installation consists of a bronze statue of the original “Southsea Dinosaur” sitting atop a plinth made from highly fossiliferous Portland Stone. In addition to key information about the work, a plaque on the sculpture’s plinth features a QR code which when scanned with a smartphone connects to an Augmented Reality experience, showing a digital rendering of the original, 22-metre-long dinosaur artwork seemingly in front of the user, on Southsea Common accompanied by the sounds of Portsmouth City Band, who attended the original launch. Viewers will also be able to visit Aspex’s website to visit a digital archive of memories contributed by the general public in honour of the original artwork including a video of the 2010 opening ceremony.

The Luna Park Dinosaur

In the summer of 2010, Everything Dinosaur team members reported upon the installation of a giant sculpture of a plant-eating dinosaur named Luna Park being erected on Southsea Common (Portsmouth, England). The massive statue, created by Studio Morison, stood 16 metres tall. It was so large that it could be seen from the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately, a fire in October 2010 completely destroyed this local landmark.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog post about the fire: Giant Dinosaur Statue on Southsea Common Destroyed by Fire.

The art project was commissioned by Aspex, Portsmouth’s contemporary art gallery, currently celebrating its 40-year anniversary with a programme of contemporary art activities: “Aspex (life begins) at 40” at the gallery and on-line. The sculpture is the centrepiece of the gallery’s anniversary celebrations.

Scanning the QR code on the Southsea Common dinosaur statue
The QR code (quick response code) on the plinth can be scanned by a mobile phone and this provides more information about this installation and the Luna Park dinosaur. Picture credit: Strong Island. Courtesy: Aspex, 2021.

Commenting on the unveiling of the artwork to commemorate the original Southsea dinosaur, Joanne Bushell (Director of Aspex), stated:

“We are thrilled to be able to share this work – over a decade after the original Luna Park was installed on Southsea Common. The artwork is firmly and fondly lodged in the memories of local people and lives on through younger generations as a kind of myth or local legend. I stand for language. I speak for truth. I shout for history is part of Portsmouth’s heritage and we are delighted to be unveiling it this Autumn. It is hoped that the piece will generate new memories for people who live here and those visiting Portsmouth”.

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