The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Legacy on the Landscape

From above it is clear that Northumberlandia is a reclining female figure, but from the ground only certain parts of the form can be easily identified. The two circles to the left of the piece are viewing platforms to see the artwork better.

On 5th September the exciting centrepiece of a large park in Northumberland opened to the public.  This unique piece of public art called Northumberlandia or the Lady of the North is a landform sculpture of a 100 ft high reclining lady designed by Charles Jencks. The sculpture lies adjacent to the Shotton Surface Coal Mine and it is the restoration of the mine that has created this unique opportunity for art and open parkland.

The design concept came from the idea that people naturally pick out shapes they recognise in a landscape, so the flowing and graceful curves of the hills at Northumberlandia are interpreted as a female form, the curvy body of a woman.  The site is managed by The Land Trust, a charity which aims to enhance environments for local communities providing enjoyment and improved health, social, educational, economic, and environmental benefits. The project is run in partnership with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, who identify and care for conservation sites such as Northumberlandia.  It is a living, growing site which will change with the seasons and will “evolve through generations.”  The benefits are clear-cut but I also wonder if there potential for the site to become an important symbol to girls everywhere, showing that there is nothing so natural as the body of a woman no matter what shape or size?    

The innovative design, planning and forward thinking of The Land Trust look set to make Northumberlandia a landscape legacy. This ever-changing green space was once empty land surrounding an open surface mine but has been transformed into a community space and attraction in the area.  At the very least the site should provide a talking point for locals and potentially will stand as a celebration of the female form and a sense of pride in the area that lasts for future generations. 

-Kay Whitehead
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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