Artists shortlisted in search for a sculpture to champion Leeds women

Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Arts University, Prof Simone Wonnacott.
Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Arts University, Prof Simone Wonnacott.
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A project to honour one of Leeds’ finest women with a statue has taken a major step forward with the announcement of a shortlist of possible sculptors.

Four artists have now been chosen to pitch their ideas for a new specially-commissioned sculpture to champion the achievements of women in Leeds.

The prominent statue will be sited at the new Gateway Court at Quarry Hill, close to Leeds Playhouse and Leeds Arts University, which is managing the project.

It came about through a campaign launched on International Women’s Day by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake and your Yorkshire Evening Post to honour a woman linked with the city

We asked our readers to name women they thought should be recognised, with Jane Tomlinson, Sue Ryder, Dame Fanny Waterman, Isabella Ford, Beryl Burton, Nicola Adams and Jo Cox picked as the ‘magnificent seven’.

Now a panel of representatives including Leeds Arts University, the council, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds BID, Leeds City College and The Playhouse has chosen the shortlisted artists who will develop a 3D maquette of their concept.

The artists are: Briony Marshall, Pippa Hal, Wendy Briggs and Zsófia Jakab.

Prof Simone Wonnacott, vice-chancellor at Leeds Arts University, said: “We were delighted to receive such an interesting range of submissions to the brief, demonstrating a real interest in developing the representation of women in Leeds’s cultural offering.

“The four shortlisted artists represent a diverse range of practices, who have much to say about the heritage of Leeds and the achievements of women across the city. I am very much looking forward to seeing their ideas take form, and to exhibiting them in the University’s gallery next year.”

Rachel Reeves MP added: “It has been really wonderful to see the level of response from artists who are keen to be part of this historic project. The submissions have been incredibly varied and I am so pleased that we have now shortlisted the four artists who will go on to exhibit their models next year. There is a clear demand for women of this city to be celebrated in the art we see every day and I am really looking forward to seeing these ideas come to life as the project unfolds.”