A former national jockey turned art teacher has been chosen to exhibit some of his work in a top London gallery.
Michael Carberry, a jeweller and sculptor who has galloped along famous racecourses at Epsom and Aintree, was whittled down from 12,000 applicants to show his piece Response To Force at the Royal Academy of Arts’ summer exhibition.
Michael, head of art at the Princes Risborough School, said: “It’s supposed to represent the force of something being squashed or crushed.
“As an art teacher, you find the subject can be marginalised in the curriculum, so this piece is a reference to that and also to how students’ creativity can be crushed by society.”
Made out of steel machined into shape, it was created in collaboration with local blacksmith Richard Green, who allowed Michael to use his forge to create the masterpiece.
Speaking about the selection process for the gallery a stone’s throw from Picadilly Circus, Michael said: “It’s very competitive, and the final number is around 500 to 600 pieces.
“Some people say it looks like a jumble sale, but the work next to mine costs £12,000 and the one opposite is £50,000.”
His life in education is a far cry from his former career as a National Hunt jockey in his teens, but today he admits he has little to do with horses.
Michael, 50, said: “I was riding as soon as I could walk, but I got too heavy and turned my attention to art when I was 21 after my sculptor friends got me into it. I did enjoy riding but my art is all consuming now.”
He began making jewellery at his own studio before he trained for his PGCE in the art department at Hereward House School in Hampsted.
The jeweller also had a stint as an artist in residence at the Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury in 2007, and was the first school teacher to be accepted on an eight-week residency at an artist’s retreat in Scotland.
The father-of-two from Ford, near Aylesbury, said: “My students have been having a laugh about it. They saw me wheeling the trolley with the sculpture in at school and wished me the best of luck.”
After six months of planning, the piece only took three days to create in the studio in the village where the artist lives with wife Niki and their children Evie, 15, and Alfie, 11.
Michael said: “Alfie did a very good job of pushing the sculpture in the trolley when ever it needed moving!”
The exhibition opened on Monday and will be ongoing until August 17.
For more informaton, visit the website at www.royalacademy.org.uk.