METRO: What do sculptors think?

Interviewing me for a METRO article, Renaka Odendra posed some challenging questions. ‘What do the sculptors of today think about sculpting real figures and the responsibility they hold as artists?’ was her overarching question. Below is an extract from the full Metro piece (Saturday 4 July 2020).

Hazel Reeves, a sculptor from Brighton, has been commissioned for public statues across several cities. 

Talking about the kind of responsibility sculptors hold, she tells us: ‘It is all about choreographing stories. As a figurative sculptor, my aim is to get a likeness, but also go beyond this to capture their essence, their ideas, and their drive.

‘Everyone is complex, their legacy is complex, so it would be unlikely I would endorse all the views of a subject. For me, I have to be sufficiently comfortable with the legacy of a historical figure I will represent.’

When figures with dubious histories are towering over us there’s an innate feeling among many that they’re simply wrong. But this debate is far from simple.

Reeves acknowledges this, saying: ‘If consultations and debates are used as a way of delaying decisions or maintaining the status quo, more direct action is inevitable.

‘While not condoning the destruction of a sculpture, I must say that I viscerally felt the symbolic power of the Colston statue being tossed into the docks as part of the Black Lives Matter protest.’

Image of the toppling of the Colston statue: Harry Pugsley / SWNS /