It must be said that considering the large area that the old Roath Parish covers we are rather bereft of works of art.
The artwork Secret Station is at the junction of Ffordd Pengam and Rover Way, on a grassy roadside bank. It consists of two twelve meter tall cones with wavy metal bars on top.
Secret Station was made in 1992 for the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust at the Gateway, Cardiff. The sculpture is an 11x11x10 metre construction in bronze and steel made of large cone forms. When it was first installed it rhythmically let out steam and was lit up by night by fibre optic lights.
The title of the sculpture comes from a poem by Seamus Heaney called The Diviner.
The artist, Eilis O’ Connell was born in Derry, N. Ireland in 1953. She studied at the Crawford School of Art, Cork. (1970-74), Massachusetts College of Art, Boston ( 1974-1975) and Crawford School of Art ( 1975-77 ) where she received the only award for Distinction in Sculpture that year. She spends her time between Cork, Ireland and London, England.
This bronze sculpture engages directly with Cardiff’s industrial past. The artist’s brief was to provide a gateway work of scale and significance to mark the eastern entrance to the bay. O’Connell, an award-winning Irish artist, looked to the 19th century to the triumph of steam power and the emergence of Cardiff as a centre of industrial excellence. This sculpture celebrates the age of steam power with its intermittent hiss of steam. Her sculpture reminds us of the present with its hi-tech fluorescent polymer lighting.
In recent years the panels on the sculpture have disappeared and making it rather a forlorn sight.