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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Gateway sculpture plan for Wales
B of the bang, The Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Statue of Liberty, The Angel of the North and  Willowman
Iconic symbols help identify places
Plans for a 1m sculpture to rival the Angel of the North as a gateway to south Wales have been suggested by tourism officials.

A study for Capital Regional Tourism showed a lack of an iconic image to represent the area's cultural identity.

An idea has been put forward for a sculpture which could be as big as the 70ft high Angel in Gateshead.

Sites near the second Severn Crossing, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport have been suggested.

The cost of project has been estimated at 950,000 however it could rise.

Capital Regional Tourism, which promotes tourism in south east Wales, commissioned the study.

Peter Cole, Regional Director said: "It was felt that there weren't any icons which you associate with Wales, or the ones that we do have are very old fashioned.

"And we had seen the effect that the Angel of the North had had on regenerating the north east of England".

When we asked people in south east Wales what they thought most said it would be a dragon
Peter Cole, Capital Region Tourism

Mr Cole added: "There is a feeling that when you come into Wales, although there are spectacular bridges, there is nothing after that to say that you have entered a different country."

He said that a report had been submitted to the Welsh Assembly Government and ideas would be presented to assembly members on 24 May.

"I'm not an artist so I couldn't say what would be the most appropriate thing, but when we asked people in south east Wales what they thought would be a good idea most people said it would be a dragon - and when you think about it there aren't many large scale dragons around so that could be an idea to consider," he added.

Eiffel Tower, Paris (985ft, 1889) Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
London Eye (450ft, 2000), Marks Barfield Architects
B Of The Bang, Manchester (184ft, 2005) Thomas Heatherwick
Statue of Liberty, Manhattan (151ft, 1886) Frederic Auguste Bartholdi
Angel of the North, Gateshead (70ft 1998), Antony Gormley
Willowman, off M5, Bridgewater, Somerset (40ft, 2000) Serena de le Hey

Public art consultants CITE, who carried out the study, said the work needed to be of the scale and impact "to demand the interest and attention of visitors and raise the profile of Wales and the region."

It also identified a number of possible locations including sites near the Severn Estuary, Wilcrick Hill, which is an iron age fort and visible from the M4 when entering Wales, Brynglas Hill at Newport and Plinth at Taffs Well.

The Cefncoed Viaduct near Merthyr Tydfil and the junction of the A4060 and A465 Heads of the Valleys road have also been shortlisted as potential sites.

'Generated pride'

Among artists on a list to be approached are Thomas Heatherwick who designed the B of the Bang in Manchester and Antony Gormley who created the Angel of the North in 1998.

David Bunce, head of cultural services at Gateshead Council, said that Gormley's statue had brought real benefits to the area's image.

"The Angel of the North continues to make a massive contribution to the regeneration of Gateshead," he said.

"It is one of the region's most iconic structures and one of the most recognisable landmarks in the country.

"This has created jobs, involved local people and generated pride in a borough hit hard by the decline of traditional industries," he added.

The very big Bang
13 Jan 05 |  Magazine
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26 Jul 04 |  North Yorkshire

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