Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 20:06 UK

Head sculpture design is unveiled

The Dream
The sculpture will stand on top of a former spoil heap

A 20m (65.6ft) sculpture of a girl's head has been unveiled as Britain's next big public art project.

The 1.3m landmark, known as The Dream, aims to be the North West's answer to the North East's Angel of the North.

It has been commissioned by councillors in St Helens, Merseyside, and will be placed on the top of a former spoil heap at a shut-down coal mine.

The Dream was chosen by former miners at the Sutton Manor colliery and local residents with artist Jaume Plensa.

The design, the head of a girl with her eyes closed, will be made of pre-cast concrete, with a white, slightly luminescent finish using a white marble and concrete mix.

The materials are designed to contrast with the black of the coal that still lies below.

A spokeswoman said the panel "wanted a piece that looked to a brighter future and created a beautiful and contemplative space for future generations".

We wanted something that was more than just another mining monument
Former miner Gary Conley

Gary Conley, who was part of the group of former miners from Sutton Manor, said: "When we were approached over two years ago to nominate the site, the ex-miners of the focus group and I would have been happy to just have a memorial erected on the site.

"Now, our eyes have been opened to what art can mean to a community.

"Consequently we wanted something that was more than just another mining monument."

The colliery site is next to the M62 motorway and the artwork will be clearly visible from the M62 between Manchester and Liverpool when it is completed.

Leader of St Helens Council and former Sutton Manor miner Brian Spencer said it would act as the "gateway to Merseyside".

He said: "I am delighted with this spectacular Dream concept, which is intended to symbolise the positive post-industrial transformation that St Helens has undergone in recent years.

Jaume Plensa said he "fell in love" with the site as soon as he saw it.

"The spectacular setting, proud heritage, vision for the future, and the warmth, humour and passion of the former miners I have met are all truly inspirational," he said.

The Dream has been commissioned as part of a Channel 4 programme, Big Art Project.

If planners give it the go-ahead, it could be in place before Christmas.

Public art project for M62 site
23 Jul 07 |  Merseyside

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