Our Emmeline wins!
PSSA Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture
I still can’t quite believe it. I have to keep pinching myself. What a career highlight. Here is the press release from the Public Statues and Sculpture Association (PSSA).
A Vote for Women! Hazel Reeves’ Our Emmeline, Rise Up, Women wins the 2021 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture with her inspiring statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. The statue which stands in St Peter’s Square in Manchester depicts Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), who campaigned tirelessly for votes for women throughout her life and organised the suffragettes’ militant campaigns. She died shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men.
The judging panel were impressed by the originality of the design of the sculpture in the way that Hazel Reeves had used a domestic chair in the place of the traditional, ubiquitous plinth. Emmeline’s foot on the edge of the chair can be seen as representing both her and her campaign’s precarity. The sculpture stands within a ‘meeting circle’ which the figurative sculptor also designed; this creates a practical piece of urban infrastructure providing seating for visitors or a platform for soapbox speakers.
In her acceptance speech on receiving this prestigious award, Hazel Reeves said that she was ‘absolutely thrilled that a statue of a woman, sculpted by a woman, has received such an accolade.’ She said that it was a privilege to tell the story of this extraordinary activist, Emmeline Pankhurst in bronze and added ‘I dedicate this award and the prize money to our modern-day Emmelines, who work tirelessly to challenge inequality and violence, because in their hearts they know that change is possible.’
‘Our Emmeline’ was unveiled on 14 December 2018 to commemorate the 100 years since women in the UK first voted in a general election. The statue had a marked impact on the local community when it was unveiled and has continued to attract a great deal of public engagement. [END]
Sculpting Emmeline Pankhurst for St Peter’s Square, Manchester, was a labour of love and a real team effort. I couldn’t have done it on my own (see more details here). Huge thanks to model Sarah Jenkins, Sandra Reeves, Mark Longworth, the team at Bronze Age London, Artful Logistics, Marji Talbot, John Reeves, Rosie Talbot, Andrew Simcock, Helen Pankhurst, Sarah Judge, Huckleberry Films, and Nigel Kingston.
A shout-out to the other shortlisted sculptors – Briony Marshall, Thomas J Price, Phyllida Barlow, Rachel Whiteread, Mark Richards – during the Awards ceremony it was fascinating and inspiring to delve into the making of their phenomenal works.