Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Goddess with 100ft breasts to rival Angel of the North

Sculptor Charles Jencks plans creating a giant Goddess of the North from waste material generated by open cast mining.

The Sunday Times - Britain

March 27, 2005

Goddess with 100ft breasts to rival Angel of the North
Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor

FIRST came the Angel of the North. Now motorists using the A1 are to be confronted with the far earthier figure of a giant reclining “goddess” stretching her curves alongside nearly half a mile of the dual carriageway.
The woman, with breasts and hips up to 100ft high, will be created 10 miles north of Newcastle from the waste material generated by open-cast mining, with each of her enormous curves concealing millions of tons of mining spoil...

The idea for the goddess emerged when the Banks Group, a mining and property company, realised there were millions of tons of valuable coal lying under farmland on the Blagdon estate near Shotton, Northumberland.

The site was, however, sandwiched between the East Coast main railway line and the busy A1. With more than 100,000 motorists and rail users passing by each day there were guaranteed to be protests if the landscape were scarred by mining.

They contacted Jencks after his landscaping for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art won the 2004 Gulbenkian prize for museum of the year.

Jencks said: “When most mining companies finish at an open-cast site, they fill it and turn it back into farmland. We wanted to do something that would give back something positive to the community.”

The huge scale of the goddess, particularly the millions of tons of spoil that will have to be moved to create her face, breasts, hips and thighs, would make the project impossibly expensive if it were attempted anywhere else. Open-cast mining, however, relies on some of the biggest earth-moving machinery ever made and Banks has pledged to allow Jencks whatever he needs.

A Banks spokesman said the figure would become the centrepiece of a “land-art park” with footpaths wending their way over and around the goddess.

I think that's a fantastic idea. Open cast mining creates a horrible amount of waste and this seems a really good way to deal with it.

I particularly like the fact that the resulting earthwork could last for thousands of years - who knows, in a thousand or more years time people may wonder about our beliefs as exemplified by the Goddess

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