Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 19:30 UK

Mine 'Dream' art project unveiled


The design was chosen by a group of ex-miners

A new 66ft (20m) high public artwork on the site of a former coal mine has been officially unveiled on Merseyside.

The £1.8m Dream sculpture, in the form of a girl's head with her eyes closed, is on the site of the former Sutton Manor Colliery in St Helens.

A group of local ex-miners chose the design, which is made from 90 unique panels of pre-cast concrete.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa designed the sculpture, which can be seen near junction seven of the M62 motorway.

Mr Plensa, 53, said: "The piece is trying to talk about the future.

We got together and we thought we could erect something that could rival the Angel of the North
Terry Murray, former miner

"When I first came to the site I immediately thought something coming out of the earth was needed.

"I decided to do a head of a nine-year-old girl which is representing this idea of the future. It's unique.

"Today is a very special and extraordinary day because it is the first time I could see the piece complete."

His other artworks include a sculpted and illuminated glass dome for the BBC's Broadcasting House in London.

He is also behind the Crown Fountain in the centre of Chicago.

Site marker

Terry Murray, 58, worked at the colliery for 23 years before it closed in 1992 and was one of a group of about 14 former workers involved in the project.

He said: "We got together and we thought we could erect something that could rival the Angel of the North.

"In 20 years' time people wouldn't have remembered what this place was. Now they are going to come and ask questions about it."

St Helens Council said no council taxpayers' money was used for the sculpture.

It has been funded by a range of organisations including Arts Council England and the charity The Art Fund.

Construction workers at the site said building it had been a "unique experience", with every piece having to be put into place with great precision.

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