As we reach the third week of 2021, aside from the governments promises to quickly deliver vaccinations across the UK, the good news stories remain as elusive as they were throughout 2020. In these testing times it’s difficult to visualise the positive changes that are occurring within the murky waters of this pandemic.
This is especially apparent as we plunge ever deeper into winter. Despite the seasons astounding beauty, cold weather has gripped tightly, restricting our movement further still. Now, the dense morning sea fogs often hide the coast from us completely. They veil what glistened, free from litter and pollution, so enthusiastically in those initial hazy summer days of lockdown.
However, though we might not be able to see them, the benefits associated with our slower pace of life continue to make significant changes on the natural world.
Throughout 2020 the UK saw one of the biggest drops in emissions at a reduction of 13 per cent. Compared to the 2019, some UK cities saw nitrogen dioxide levels fall by up to 60 per cent. As the air changed, so the environment benefited from the in other ways too. In Italy, water in the Venice canals became clearer, while in the Bay of Bengal, sea turtles started laying eggs on beaches they once avoided due to crowds of people.
Hoping to celebrate the importance of protecting Blackpool’s own beautiful natural coast and marine life, a new sculpture is to be sited at the corner of Talbot Road and the Promenade. The ‘Call from the Sea’ sculpture is one of several unique works commissioned as part of the ongoing regeneration plans to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors.
Covered in replica shells and sea life based on those found locally, the statue will give a message of hope for the marine environment that is threatened globally by climate change.
The design has been developed from a community consultation led by the artist and plays with Blackpool’s link to performers using magic and illusion to entertain people.
Spending time with fashion students from Blackpool and The Fylde College, pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy and the council’s beach patrol team, artist Laurence Payot delivered a number of creative workshop sessions before finalising her design.
During the engagement sessions, 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.
Speaking of her involvement 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, which makes it so interesting.
“I am pleased to help Laurence create this work. 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 created by using a state-of-the-art 3D scanner on the live model to ensure that the statue looks as realistic as possible. It will be cast in bronze with various colours then added.
‘Call from the Sea’ is due to be installed in Spring 2021.
Laurence said: “The statue will send a positive and optimistic message about Blackpool’s progress to maintain its quality sea water and clean beaches. This is emphasised by the choice of a young model who has a progressive attitude and looks towards the future.
“The final design will also represent the strong connection Blackpool has with the Irish Sea – its fauna, flora and cold-water coral reefs – by creating a new local sea character with a mythical, folkloric feel.
“It has been fantastic to engage with so many members of the community in Blackpool and I can’t wait to unveil the final design.”
In 2020 we saw the removal of statues that paid respects to outdated ideologies. It’s wonderful to know that in 2021 will see Blackpool gain a sculpture that give homage to the town’s most crucial life providing element, the sea.
Header image: 3D scan of Charlotte for ‘Call from the Sea’
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