Today I headed for Braziers Park near Wallingford to the studio of the under appreciated  sculptor John Buckley.

His rarely opened studio will be open again next weekend and the following weekend.



Castaway 56 – John Buckley:

Sculptor. Locally, John is best known for making Bill Heine’s shark but he also created an anti-war memorial for the International Campaign to ban Landmines (MAG). John was on the trust of MAG when the organisation was joint winner of The Nobel Peace Prize. As an artist he has literally journeyed  into the dark heart of conflict in Cambodia, Sudan and Haiti. John made a bronze sculpture called Bladerunner for the Cultural Olympiad.

John Buckley

John and Bill hoped this  sculpture would  go on top of  the Berlin Wall to symbolise East and West united but… The Berlin Wall came down and I suggested that there is a wall much closer in Belfast. I wrote this poem about it.


Joined at the hip; you have tasted the apple.

whatever tension, whatever the pain

Be bound -wrapped around -inseparable.


Trapped in tender embrace you struggle.

you ask why and how together you came

Joined at the hip; you have tasted the apple.


From different communities you blame

the other, you fight, you cry, you soften,

you are bound – wrapped around -inseparable.


One from the church; the other the chapel.

A fateful kiss and God willing amen

joined at the hip; you have tasted the apple.


With distrust and hate you must still wrestle

but as you battle your bindings stiffen.

You are bound – wrapped around – inseparable.


Stand upon the wall and be a symbol.

Bask in sun, survive the rain and remain,

joined at the hip; you have tasted the apple.

Be bound – wrapped around – inseparable.


This sculpture by John ,titled Nuba Survival, is on a farm in Checkendon.

John’s  moving art is a response to the war and conflict he has witnessed.

The Shark is particularly poignant at the moment .  John and Bill came up with the idea when the Americans were bombing Tripoli  from nearby Heyford.