Planned location of Cranogwen statue revealed
Campaigners have revealed that they plan to locate a statue of Cranogwen in the Memorial Gardens in Llangrannog on the Ceredigion coast.
The statue of Sarah Jane Rees will be the third of a named Welsh woman elected in the country after Betty Campbell was unveiled in Cardiff in September of last year and a statue of Elaine Morgan will be uncovered in Mountain Ash on March 18.
The intention is to erect the life-size bronze statue of Cranogwen – referred to by Professor Deirdre Beddoe as “the most outstanding Welsh woman of the nineteenth century” – at the Memorial Garden which is on the road down to Llangrannog beach.
The 2.3m tall statue is already in the works, with acclaimed artist Sebastien Boyesen brought in to complete the design after campaigners hit a £20,000 online fundraising target.
Sarah Jane Rees was at various times during the 19th century a mariner, poet, teacher, journalist, preacher and political campaigner.
The campaign to place the statue in Llangrannog has been the work of Monumental Welsh Women who want to increase the number of public statues of real women in Wales.
Cynyr Ifan, the chair of the Llangrannog Welfare Committee, said: “The ‘Prosiect Cerflun Crannogwen’ has existed over the last year and has created local, national and indeed international attention.
“The project has now gained an astonishing level of momentum that indicates and confirms the need for the memorial in this heroine’s birthplace in order to remember, celebrate her heritage and to teach about Cranogwen’s history and background,” he told the Cambrian News.
“There is strong evidence of community support and beyond of this scheme through all financial donations, input from community experts and academic institutions.
“The site for the memorial set out in the planning application is ideal for the scheme as it is in a safe, leisure/recreation area, accessible to all ages and physical abilities and visually to locals and passing visitors.
“There is already a community garden here on the land owned by the community and so this would be the obvious site to place the memorial.”
‘Highlight of my career’
Speaking at the time of his appointment as the artist working on the sculpture, Sebastien Boyesen aid of the commission: “Being commissioned to create the statue of Cranogwen is both an honour and privilege and is something I would consider to be a highlight of my career.
“I look forward to developing the work with our amazing team including working with Keziah as an emerging sculptor mentee, and hope that I can repay the trust placed in me by creating a wonderful legacy for the village and wider community that celebrates the achievements of an inspirational Welsh woman.”
Helen Molyneux from Monumental Welsh Women said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the commissioning of our project’s third statue of a real Welsh woman.
“Cranogwen was an inspirational woman whose reputation and influence spread not just across Wales but internationally, at a time when many women rarely left villages they were born in.
“This will be the third statue commissioned by the Monumental Welsh Women project to celebrate the achievements of Wales’ hidden heroines – the women whose contributions to Welsh life and culture have been largely overlooked because of the era they were born in.
“The first statue was of Wales’s first black head teacher, Betty Campbell, that was unveiled in Cardiff in September. The second, of Elaine Morgan the evolutionary theorist and dramatist, will be unveiled in Mountain Ash in the autumn.”
In recognition of Cranogwen, who among other career achievements encouraged the talents of other women, MWW partnered with Lisa Evans, Programme Director of the degree honours programme in Sculpture at Carmarthen School of Art, Coleg Sir Gâr, to award a paid menteeship for one year to an emerging post-graduate female sculptor from Coleg Sir Gâr to work with Boyesen on this commission.
It has been awarded to Keziah Ferguson, who said: “I feel incredibly privileged to be involved in the project, to honour the legacy of Cranogwen. The warm reception I received in Llangrannog has made me doubly excited to start work with Seb and the team.”
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