September 11 sculpture unveiled in Battersea Park

By Jessica Elgot, September 6, 2011

A Jewish life insurance salesman has spent two years establishing an art work dedicated to the 9/11 terrorist attack victims, which has now been unveiled in London's Battersea Park.

Spearheaded by JC columnist Peter Rosengard, the project has brought a piece of steel weighing four tonnes from New York's World Trade Centre, and turned it into a sculpture by New York artist Miya Ando. It will be on display in the park for a month, and organisers hope to find it a permanent home.

More than 200 people attended the launch of the artwork, including London's Mayor Boris Johnson, who was born in New York, and Thomas Van Essen, commissioner of the New York Fire Department during the terrorist attacks on the city.

The erection of the memorial, "After 9/11", coincides with the launch of the 9/11 Foundation which aims to teach schoolchildren about the legacy of the attacks a decade ago.

The project has high-profile supporters including Conservative chairman Lord Fink and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mr Rosengard convinced most involved in the project to donate their time and skills for free to bring the piece to London.

Britain is the only country in Europe to have been given a piece of the World Trade Centre.

Mr Rosengard said: "It was an extraordinary moment to see the piece unveiled, it is one of the most important things I have ever done. We have overcome millions of obstacles, but it is finally here in London. This is not a memorial, it's a public work of art."

Mr Van Essen said: "I'm so pleased to have been able to come here, to show our gratitude for the support the people of Great Britain showed us. It's a fantastic project, that will correct a lot of misinformation about 9/11."

In October the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester will display another piece of steel from the World Trade Cente, and will also display a British Union flag found amongst the World Trade Centre wreckage will go on display to mark ten years since the attack.

The museum will also host a memorial event on Sunday featuring a performance of two specially composed orchestral pieces and an address by Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council.

Last updated: 3:33pm, September 8 2011