Call of the Sea statue celebrates Blackpool’s award-winning coastline
Written by John Williamson on 10/06/2021
A new statue celebrating the importance of protecting Blackpool’s beautiful natural coast and marine life has been unveiled today on Talbot Square.
The sculpture is one of a number of unique works commissioned as part of the ongoing regeneration plans to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors.
The ‘Call of the Sea’ sculpture is sited close to the popular new heritage tram benches by artist Andy Hazell.
Artist Laurence Payot wants the life-sized statue to become a new local character inspired by sea goddesses and heroes across cultures.
Covered in replica shells and sea life based on those found locally, the statue gives a message of hope for the marine environment that is threatened globally by climate change.
The funding for the statue has come to Blackpool from a grant through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership under its Growth Deal.
The design was developed from the results of a community consultation led by the artist and plays with Blackpool’s link to performers using magic and illusion to entertain people, and in particular the traditional street performer disguised as a statue.
During the consultation phase, Laurence spent time with fashion students from Blackpool and The Fylde College, pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy and the council’s beach patrol team in creative workshop sessions before finalising her design.
Laurence wanted to find a suitable female model for the sculpture and Charlotte, who was born in Blackpool, was chosen due to her passion for the environment and her interest in marine conservation.
Charlotte said: “I was born in Blackpool and I couldn’t imagine living away from the sea – it has intrigued me from a very young age. The sea has so many hidden features, it is a beautiful and mysterious world.
“I was delighted to help Laurence create this work, from seeing the initial children’s designs, to testing outfits and positions, and being 3D scanned! It was fascinating seeing the process from casting in wax, to bronze, and painting.
“I’m representing my generation, who have become more aware of the problems we now face. We live at a turning point – we need to take action, and this is what this statue represents, looking after and fighting for our environment and our future.”
The sculpture has been made by Castle Arts Foundry using a state-of-the art 3D scanner on the live model so that the statue looks as realistic as possible. It has then been cast in bronze and painted an array of colours reflecting the natural vibrant colours of an undersea coral bed.
Laurence said: “Call of the Sea will mark a turning point for Blackpool which has declared a climate change emergency and send a positive and optimistic message about the town’s progress to maintain its quality sea water and clean beaches.
“She was carefully designed with and for Blackpool, and emerges out of the sea, like a magical and surreal apparition. I hope people will accept her and care for her, for she represents hope, change and kindness.
“She is a motherly figure, caring for local sea life found in the Irish Sea, holding it tight to her heart. But she is also a powerful figure, a fighter with a determined position, moving forward and raising a bright red conch shell as if raising an emergency call, inviting us to follow her path. She is a call for the sea, and for the young and future generations.
“Her body, the sea, and the fauna and flora she is holding are all intertwined into a colourful web of life. Reds and blues, opposite colours, sit together, representing the contradictions she embodies, and the choices we have to make.
“I cannot wait to see her in situ. I hope she will surprise passers-by, and make children dream of a beautiful future.”
Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “We are a forward-thinking town and as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, I am pleased we have a statue that local young people wanted to represent their passion for protecting our natural environment.
“I’m sure the statue will prove to be a popular landmark for people to meet at before going and enjoying the many attractions including our wonderful beach and piers where you can get close to nature.
“Our seaside resort is proud to have recently received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Awards for the high standards of all four of our beaches and bathing waters so it is very fitting that the statue celebrates our beautiful natural coastline and our award-winning beaches.
“This project is just one element of our wider plans for the town centre regeneration and is part of the ongoing work taking place to create a resilient resort for the 21st century.”
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