Luna Park 10 Years - Celebrating the Southsea Dinosaur

Luna Park 10 Years - Celebrating the Southsea Dinosaur

31 Jul - 1 Sep

This summer Aspex celebrates ten years since Luna Park - the incredible Southsea dinosaur that towered over the Common.

Marking ten years since the 16 metre tall Ultrasaurus occupied Southsea Common, Luna Park 10 Years allows visitors to walk around and underneath a 3D rendering of the original sculpture, and share their own memories and photographs of the artwork.

For a commission led by Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, the original Luna Park, was installed by Aspex on 31st July 2010 and was visited, photographed, climbed on and enjoyed by thousands of people until it unexpectedly burnt down on 1st October. Known affectionately by Portsmouth’s residents as ‘The Southsea Dinosaur’ the sculpture had been due to travel to Colchester and Cardiff as part of a touring partnership between Chapter, Firstsite and Aspex

The newly commissioned VR artwork consists of a 360 degree digital Southsea Common, which visitors can experience in their own homes at any point over the next twelve months. During that time photographs and memories contributed by the public will be added to the virtual space and create a constantly changing environment.

The launch weekend, Friday 31 July - Sunday 2 August 2020, is supported by Portsmouth Creates, Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth.

An extensive programme of activities will include:  The ‘Do-you-think-they-saw-us’ Arts trail; a Dinosaur Cake Competition in partnership with Tenth Hole; a screening of ‘An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go’, the film which shows the making of the Ultrasaurus sculpture in Serbia; Heather & Ivan Morison in conversation about the project via Zoom; and the official launch of the Crowdfunding campaign, raising money for a permanent tribute to the Ultrasaurus.  Full details of the events and activities programme will follow.

We are asking Portsmouth to share it's memories of that time and celebrate with us by sending in your photographs and recollections of the Ultrasaurus.

By collaborating with the Artists Heather & Ivan Morison on a Virtual Reality experience of the sculpture on Southsea Common we will bring it alive again. 

Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex said:

“Heather & Ivan Morison’s new work will form the centerpiece of Aspex at 40 in 2021, when we will use our archive to inspire new commissions; revisiting past works to celebrate four decades of supporting emerging artists and revealing the creative process.

It is timely to reconsider the role of public sculpture in society. This project provides our local community with an opportunity to become the commissioners, to say why it is important to them and share their memories. The people of Portsmouth took the original Luna Park to their hearts, and we are already enjoying the photographs that have come flooding in so far.”

You can help us by adding your stories to the archive! Share your photos of you and the #SouthseaDinosaur with

Luna Park 10 Years is delivered by Aspex in partnership with PONToon, an EU Interreg France (Channel) England funded project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and is supported by Portsmouth Creates, Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth.

Luna Park (2010) was a Chapter initiative, commissioned in collaboration with Safle through the Studio Safle programme, Aspex Portsmouth and Firstsite Colchester. The project received generous financial support from Safle, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council England through Sustain and was part-financed by the European Union.