A vibrant new artwork has appeared in the heart of Southend High Street, designed by a 96-year-old artist living in Guatemala.

Fantasias, created by Austrian artist Elisabeth Wild, was installed on the railway bridge, which takes pride of place in the heart of the town.

The piece, Wild’s first in the UK in her long career, was specifically created to fit the site and consists of two separate works, one for each side of the bridge.

It forms part of Wild’s ongoing series of collages, in which she uses vibrant colours and geometric shapes cut from magazine adverts - a therapeutic process which she believes has helped her reach the age of 96.

Each of the two panels consist of eight individual collages that are made in response to Southend’s history and identity as a seaside town.

Assistant curator Focal Point Gallery, James Ravinet, said: “We are really excited about this commission, and think it will bring something a bit different to the high street.

“We wanted to work with a female artist as they can be underrepresented, and we also wanted to work with someone older to set a precedent and break the mold of what people expect when they think of an artist.

“We’re also looking at a time when there is a lot of debate about the UK’s place on an international level, and so it seemed important to welcome a work and and artist that combines British influences and an international experience.

“Accessible art is really important - so many people will see it and I like to think passer-bys will be able to connect with the work and start conversations about it.”

As well as the work’s resonances with a tropical cityscape, reminiscent of the landscape in Guatemala, Wild’s piece is also influenced by Essex’s important role in the history of British Modernism, particularly in terms of its architecture.

Though the Southend work is Wild’s first to be shown in the UK, she has made many prolific international appearances including Guatemala City, Mexico, Costa Rica, Greece, and Germany.

The temporary work will be on display until October 21.