Selected Sculptor Announced
Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign
Today (Tuesday, 4 April) sculptor Hazel Reeves has been announced as the designer who will create the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester, with her striking ‘chair’ design receiving both the public’s vote and the unanimous support of the selection committee.
Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign, says, “I am delighted for Hazel. Since first meeting her eighteen months ago she has impressed me with her passion for women’s rights and gender equality, her enthusiasm for the project and her willingness to engage in the broader educational opportunities that this project will unlock. We’ve also seen through the public voting process how much her design has touched and connected with people, which is an important part of Emmeline’s legacy.
“I am really looking forward to working with Hazel as we now turn our attention towards the next stage of the project; raising the money required for the creation of the statue.”
Hazel Reeves says, “I feel incredibly privileged to be selected to sculpt my hero, and Manchester’s hero, Emmeline Pankhurst. There was tough competition. The response to my design has been overwhelming; Emmeline as the courageous, determined and dignified activist. In 2019 she will be back on Manchester’s streets, continuing to inspire women to rise up and demand their rights.
“This statue is long overdue, in this city with a rich history of women’s activism. We must thank Andrew Simcock, Helen Pankhurst and the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign for their vision, which is already inspiring others to make visible the amazing women that have been so important to their own towns and cities.”
As the winning designer Hazel will also be developing a programme of community engagement with the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign, which will include educational projects linking to the activities that will be taking place around the one hundredth anniversary of the 1918 Act that gave the vote to women over the age of thirty.
Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline’s great granddaughter, says, “Over the last few months the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Committee met some very impressive sculptors and saw some wonderful ideas take shape. The selection of a single winner has not been easy. Nevertheless, Hazel’s creation has rightly risen to the top. It is memorable and evocative, a simple and yet very powerful evocation of one of the most iconic women in history.”
The statue will be located, subject to planning permission, in the new garden area of St Peter’s Square and will be unveiled on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019. Of Manchester’s 17 statues Emmeline Pankhurst will be the second female, the other being Queen Victoria, which is where the inspiration for the project began.
Andrew Simcock says, “As a radical city with a history of strong female figures it is wrong that our public art does not reflect this part of Manchester’s heritage. We began by asking the public which female figure they would like immortalised in a statue. They voted overwhelmingly for Emmeline Pankhurst. With the design now also confirmed we are another step forward to seeing our ambitions realised.”
5,850 people voted in the advisory ballot on the design, either having seen the maquettes at one of a number of events, or by viewing them online. 1,815 people visited Manchester Art Gallery to see the sculptures and vote.
Councillor Sarah Judge, Lead Member for Women on Manchester City Council, says, “I’m delighted for Hazel, “Rise up Women” has really captured the public, which is shown in the public vote. It was such a tough decision, the process we have been through has asked a lot from all of the shortlisted sculptors and they have been fantastic to work with. We have an exciting journey ahead with Hazel, and I look forward to working with her over the next year.”
Hazel’s design led the poll, with Sean Hedges-Quinn’s striking depiction of Emmeline and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia a close second. The judging panel also commended the ‘toffee hammer’ design submitted by Amelia Rowcroft.
“As the sculptor on the list with no public sculptures to her name Amelia really impressed us all and it will surely only be a matter of time before she secures her first public commission”, says Andrew Simcock.
For further information on the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign visit www.womanchesterstatue.org.
If you would like to know more about how to support this project, which will receive no public funding from Manchester City Council, email email@example.com or donate at www.womanchesterstatue.org/donate
Notes to Editors
Hazel Reeves MRBS SWA FRSA is a gifted award-winning figurative sculptor, passionate about people and their stories, with figure and portrait commissions in bronze a speciality, such as her monumental Sir Nigel Gresley statue, recently unveiled at King’s Cross station in 2016, and her bronze figure of Sadako Sasaki, who continues to inspire peace activism worldwide.
In March 2017, Hazel was awarded the commission to celebrate in bronze the lives of women biscuit factory workers – the ‘Cracker Packers’ – from the Carr’s (now McVities) factory in Carlisle. This will be unveiled in one year’s time, on International Women’s Day 2018. Hazel is inspired by the warm and vibrant stories of the camaraderie of the Cracker Packers, past and present. Such stories of working women’s lives rarely make it into formal history yet need to be celebrated and shared with future generations.
Hazel’s artistic vision is driven by her international reputation for promoting gender equality and women’s rights. Hazel is never happier than when she is combining her passion for portraiture with telling stories of struggles for social justice and stories of the lives of working class women. Curiosity in people, their faces and their stories form the heart of her work.
Hazel is on the Council of the Society of Women Artists (SWA), an elected member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (RBS), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the sculptor advising the Hove Plinth initiative. For further details see www.hazelreeves.com/biography
Fido PR is supporting the early stages of this project on a pro bono basis, joining the campaign to see the creation of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue in Manchester.