Strider displayed at Green Garden

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

If it's true that everything comes full circle then The Strider from Chernobyl is right back where it started - in a sense.

All of the hullabaloo about the 275-kilogram fish started in late 1987 when Ronald Godwin lugged the huge metal Strider from his Greenwich Village studio onto the streets of New York. The Strider immediately caused a traffic jam at the intersection of 10th and Greenwich Streets.

"The Strider from Chernobyl startled, amused and even spooked a lot of people," Godwin said, laughing. "People asked me so many questions about it that my jaw got sore from all the talking."

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The spooky, terrified-looking fish appeared so outlandish that it initially seemed funny.

"The feeling soon ebbed because people sensed The Strider was running but there was nowhere to go," Godwin said.

Now, almost 15 years later, people are viewing The Strider from Chernobyl in very much the same way they did in New York. The Strider is on display outside the

Green Garden Gallery in Montgomery and, once again,

it's causing quiet a stir.

Just as in New York, people are amused, confused and even spooked by the big, metal fish that is running with no where to go.

"In 1987, the Chernobyl disaster and the fear and dangers associated with it were foreign to us," Godwin said. "After Sept. 11, we can all identify with The Strider. We can run, but there's nowhere to go or nowhere to hide."

Rob Gallagher, director of the Green Garden Gallery, said having The Strider on display was a good and timely decision.

"I'm inside and I don’t get to hear all of the comments about The Strider, but I know it is the subject of much conversation," Gallagher said. "We are located near a couple of restaurants and it's attracting the attention of passersby. And, The Strider has gotten a lot of coverage from the local media, so many people are coming just to see it."

Gallagher described The Strider from Chernobyl as "fantastic."

"The Strider is a great piece of work and we are please to have it here at Green Garden Gallery," he said. "It was originally supposed so show for a week but that has been extended because there has been so much interest shown in it."

Godwin is pleased that his spooky-looking fish is getting favorable reviews but his is even more pleased that its message is being heard.

"To me this earth is a sentient being," he said. "It possesses the power and ability to correct the delicate balance of its energetic natural forces. If we, as inhabitants and caretakers, cannot correct the misuse of this earth, then all forms of life will know alteration when the great scorpion raises its tail in defiance."

"The Strider represents a creative force in nature coming from the depths of the sea, where higher forms of awareness may exist, screaming out of redemption and war against all of the destructive invaders that have altered its designed existence."

Godwin said the surreal fish with its mutant biological forms was the most provocative visual image he could think of to express his own outrage at the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

"With a few simple tools - a welding torch, hammer, anvil, grinder - and sheets of aluminum I fabricated the great fish that would help me find my own redemption," he said. "Today, as in 1987, the bull horned fish on the run might make a difference to a few people, of any age, to help alter their perception of this planet to balance and protect it. Then it becomes real not imaginary. I can't know a greater legacy."