THE ST Helens Star can exclusively reveal the first image of the stunning artwork that promises to become an iconic landmark for the North West of England.
Created by internationally renowned Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, the spectacular piece entitled 'Dream', will sit on top of the former Sutton Manor Colliery overlooking the M62.
At 20 metres high (65 feet), which is the same height as Antony Gormley's Angel of the North, 'Dream' will be made from pre-cast concrete with a white almost luminescent finish, using a white marble/concrete mix. The pale colour is seen as a contrast to the blackness of the coal that still lies beneath the surface. 'Dream' takes the form of the head of a girl, her eyes closed in quiet contemplation.
It is the culmination of conversations between the artist, former miners and members of the wider local community who wanted something that looked to a brighter future and created a beautiful and contemplative space for future generations It is being commissioned by St Helens Council as part of The Big Art Project, a public art initiative from Channel 4 supported by Arts Council England and The Art Fund.
The progress of 'Dream' is being filmed for The Big Art Project, which is due to be aired later this year. 'Dream' will launch, subject to planning permission and project progress, in late 2008.
Jaume Plensa said: "My work is first and foremost about celebrating life and the human experience of standing in between past and present, present and future, knowledge and ignorance. I fell in love with this site in St Helens as soon as I saw it! The spectacular setting, proud heritage, vision for the future and the warmth, humour and passion of the former miners I have met are all truly inspirational.
"To have been invited to capture the essence, hopes and aspirations of a whole community on this scale is a great honour but also an awesome responsibility."
Former Sutton Manor miner Gary Conley added: "Thanks to this fantastic artist Jaume Plensa, I believe we have a piece of artwork that not only reflects the past heritage of the site but also projects into the future. Sutton Manor Colliery may never produce coal again, but now because of this wonderful piece of artwork, its soul and millions of memories will live on."
Council Leader Brian Spencer commented: "This landmark aims to not only put St Helens on the map, but also to have a major positive impact on the rest of Merseyside and the North West in terms of the significant and cultural benefits it will bring."