THE origin of an 'alien' structure which appeared in a flooded Oxford park on New Year's Day has been revealed.

The mysterious silver monolith appeared at Oatlands Recreation Ground and Park on January 1, following the discovery of similar objects across the world around the same time.

After two days sat in the nearly waist-high water, the monolith disappeared.

READ MORE: Mystery as 'alien' column appears in flooded Oxford park

Now its origin appears to have come to light as a Green Party candidate in Oxford made the claim that she was responsible for the monolith in an election leaflet.

Lois Muddiman, who lives near the park and stood as a Green candidate for Osney and St Thomas in the city council elections, confirmed this was the case.

The monolith at Oatlands Park. Picture: Dominic Utton

The monolith at Oatlands Park. Picture: Dominic Utton

Ms Muddiman said she had decided to include her claim to the mysterious object in the leaflet among other community work she has done.

The electoral candidate, who is also an installation artist, said: "We are nearly six months later and we thought the mystery could be revealed."

READ MORE: Oxford monolith: Mystery structure vanishes from field

She enlisted the help of her neighbour Andrew Roland, and they built the monolith together in his yard before wading out into the flooded park at 6am to install it.

Ms Muddiman said: "It was just after Christmas and the world was looking pretty bleak. I had read something about the monoliths that had been put up in the desert and in San Francisco and it came to me that it would be a fun thing to do to distract people from all the stuff that was going on in the world really."

Lois Muddiman. Picture: Richard Cave photography

Lois Muddiman. Picture: Richard Cave photography

She added: "It did everything we hoped it would. We didn't want people to actually reach it. There was something about it being in the floodwater that made it more mysterious. And it was just really good fun to listen to people speculating about how it got there and what it might be about."

Large crowds gathered to see the monolith over the two days it was in the flooded field, and one man even filmed a YouTube video where he hunted for the object but found it had already been removed.

The installation shares the name of an alien artefact in the Stanley Kubrick sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In that film, the monolith was a large black oblong discovered by humans at various stages in their evolution, which appeared to enlighten them.

Like others discovered around the world in the winter of 2020, Ms Muddiman and Mr Roland designed their monolith to appear silver, metallic and three-sided.

In reality, it was made of a wood frame covered in a foil insulation material.

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Mr Roland, who carried out the work, has experience in DIY from fixing his bike and building sets for the West Oxford Pantomime Association.

He said he remembered the cold floodwaters on the field filling his wellies and almost reaching up to his waist as he waded out into the park with Ms Muddiman.

Between them, they carried the monolith, a stepladder and a mallet to hammer it into the ground.

Mr Roland said: "It was probably quite a comical sight if you happened to see us, but it was pretty deserted at the time. Nobody sensible would be up at that time."

He added he was surprised none of his neighbours discovered he and Ms Muddiman building the object, though once it appeared he said a few had seemed 'suspicious'.

In the May 6 election, Ms Muddiman won 760 votes, a close third behind Labour councillor Colin Cook, who won 799 votes.

Lois Muddiman (centre), at the launch of the official Refill Oxford sculpture she created in 2019 at Bonn Square. Also pictured is her election rival and then-Lord Mayor Colin Cook. Picture: Ed Nix

Lois Muddiman (centre), at the launch of the official Refill Oxford sculpture she created in 2019 at Bonn Square. Also pictured is her election rival and then-Lord Mayor Colin Cook. Picture: Ed Nix

He and his Labour colleague Susanna Pressel (1,070 votes) were elected to two Osney and St Thomas ward seats on the city council.

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Ms Muddiman also currently has an installation in the Ashmolean alongside Enam Gbewonyo called A Nice Cup of Tea, which explores the colonial legacy of the UK's favourite hot drink.

She has also built sculptures to promote water refill stations in Oxford and to improve flood defences for the Botley Road area.

This article was originally published on 19/05/21

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