The Wight Spirit Mosaic


50th Anniversary of The Last Great Event
The Wight Spirit Mosaic

The Wight Spirit Mosaic by sculptor Guy Portelli is created to represent the 1968, 1969 & 1970 Isle of Wight Festivals. It has been created from the handprints of musicians who played at those Festivals. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the 1970 Festival, also known as The Last Great Event.

The mosaic hands have been individually created according to each musician’s requirements or suggestions, or from research done on the band or person. The musicians range from three surviving members of Jefferson Airplane who played in 1968 – the first festival – to Kris Kristofferson who played in 1970 along with Donovan, Melanie and a host of others.

Guy Portelli in front of The Wight Spirit Mosaic, photo by Rabah Ichadadene

Musicians were researched, located and then asked to submit a hand tracing in pen, signed and dated, plus an image of them with their tracing and/or holding it up. This was then used as a template for the mosaic. After it was done the image was sent back to the musician(s) to approve and then placed on the panel. There are over 100 handprints on the panel – one of them is taken from the Roman mosaic at Brading on the Isle of Wight, so it links the old with the new using a technique that goes back hundreds of years.

Carmine Appice from Cactus and his hand tracing

Cactus Mosaic

It is an extraordinary and inspirational piece, particularly as the handprint is man’s first way of signing and it is also strangely poignant as in these times we cannot shake hands in the normal introductory way. The panel can be viewed at Masterpiece Art in Holland Park, visit Unlike the rest of the items in the gallery the panel is not for sale, it was more about the making of the sculpture and its vibrancy.

Guy Portelli has a passion for art and music and has long been interested in creating music-related sculpture and he loves working with mosaic on curved surfaces. Visit to see Guy’s work.

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