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Local man takes part in Gormley project

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:28 01 August 2010

AN art teacher from Halesworth has enjoyed his 15 - or rather 60 - minutes of fame by taking part in the nation's most talked-about work of art.

Paul Cope created his own piece of history this morning from midnight by taking his place on the empty fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square after being selected at random to be part of artist Antony Gormley's summer attraction.

AN art teacher from Halesworth has enjoyed his 15 - or rather 60 - minutes of fame by taking part in the nation's most talked-about work of art.

Paul Cope created his own piece of history this morning from midnight by taking his place on the empty fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square after being selected at random to be part of artist Antony Gormley's summer attraction.

The 48-year-old was one of 2,400 people chosen from more than 34,000 applicants wanting to become part of the six-metre-high structure of art, commissioned by the mayor of London.

The One and Other project sees an individual spending an hour on the plinth 24 hours a day, for 100 days.

Speaking before he took the stand, Mr Cope, of Kennedy Close, said: “I was interested in the idea and in Antony Gormley's work so I was investigating the website.”

He applied there and then and thought he was unlikely to be successful, but added: “Much to my amazement I came up.”

At midnight it was Mr Cope's turn to assume his position on the plinth for exactly one hour, and he said he was determined not to waste a second. Ever the artist, he took materials so he could record his experience from the unusual perspective.

He said: “I will try to draw Nelson's Column and the view down the road,” he said. “I have been to Trafalgar Square before but I have never seen it from that position and probably never will again.”

He said his “witching hour” slot was unpredictable in terms of viewing crowds, but added: “It's nice for an art teacher to get the chance to take part in an art event like this.”

Mr Cope, who is head of art at Gisleham Middle School, in Carlton Colville, said he would be accompanied by his wife Joanna Barfield, and vowed to return to the classroom with video footage and photos to show and hopefully inspire his students.

“To be part of something like this, which is being done by a famous artist is quite a thing and I will certainly bring it into the classroom. It is something I hope the children will be interested in.”

The fourth plinth was built in 1841 and was originally intended to be an equestrian statue.

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