Artist appeals for return of gigantic pike head stolen from filter beds

Kate Malone fish artwork

A fish head sculpture from Kate Malone's ceramic work Rise and Shine Magic Fish. Photograph: Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

A leading ceramicist is launching an appeal after a giant fish head she created was stolen from the Lee Valley Middlesex Filter Beds.

It formed part of a series of Kate Malone’s pieces called Rise and Shine Magic Fish that were installed in a Hackney stretch of the River Lea near Lee Bridge Road 22 years ago after being commissioned by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA).

The LVRPA said a “brightly coloured pike head” that was part of Ms Malone’s work was pinched by thieves last year and other elements of the four-piece work were damaged.

The remaining parts of Rise and Shine Magic Fish have now been moved to the WaterWorks Nature Reserve for their safety.

Ms Malone, who is making a renewed appeal for the pike head’s return, said: “Rise and Shine Magic Fish, made 22 years ago, was my second major public art commission. Many have been made since, but I have to say it is one of my favourites.

“The original brief was for it to be ‘artistic site specific’ so I made the fish specific to the River Lea and around the time of installation I worked with hundreds of local children making land art to celebrate the reserve and to teach them of English freshwater fish.

“The brief also specified that the piece should last 20 years in the elements. Twenty two years later they stood up to the weather and water but sadly someone has stolen the pike and another has been damaged but a happy resolution is planned.

“Two will be moved to a more wet location, one will be restored and will hopefully join the others, and if anyone has seen a huge pike head in a local back garden or living room, please tell us, as it would be great to have it back and relocated with the others.

“Ceramics has been found from 40,000BC, so lets all work together to keep Rise and Shine in one piece for another period of time.”

Green Space Manager for Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Martin Page said: “The Authority is very fortunate to have a great collection of public art across the park and we are privileged to be custodians of this fantastic piece by a world acclaimed artist.

“Visitors will be able to admire the Magic Fish in a beautiful natural setting, which will complement the creative works that are already at WaterWorks Nature Reserve.”