The five artists in the running to design a permanent tribute to one of Torbay’s most famous daughters Dame Agatha Christie has been revealed today.
In September 2021 artists were invited to submit an expression of interest for the project, which is being entirely funded and developed as part of the funding secured through the Towns Fund.
In total, 14 artists responded to the public call out, with the final artists selected by a panel made up of representatives from Torbay Council, Agatha Christie Ltd, the international Agatha Christie Festival Ltd, Torbay Culture and Torquay Town Board. The panel assessed each submission on how it ‘captured the spirit of Agatha Christie, her Life and Work’.
The five artists chosen to make up the final shortlist are:
David A Annand
David is a public artist and sculptor who lives and works in Kilmany in the Scottish county of Fife. David’s proposal is to create a slightly larger than life sized figure of Agatha Christie and her short-haired terrier Peter. She would either be holding him, or they could be sitting apart. The sculpture will contain a few stainless-steel elements that will be designed for people to sit on and contemplate the quotes written here. Learn more about David A Annand and his proposal. www.torbay.gov.uk/agatha-christie-artwork/annand
Elisabeth is a sculptor based in Brixham, Torbay. Elisabeth’s proposal is to create a sculpture of Agatha sitting on a bench, thoughtfully thinking about her next great work, or admiring the surroundings she was passionate about. Having her sat on a bench would allow for more engagement. Her fans could visit and take a seat next to her and really feel a close connection with their literary idol. Learn more about Elisabeth Hadley and her proposal. www.torbay.gov.uk/agatha-christie-artwork/hadley
Gordon is an artist from Carlisle, now based in Somerset. Gordon’s proposal is to create a unique and engaging piece of artwork to commend this English icon and her home town for the community and beyond to enjoy. Most of Gordon’s artwork is text based as he understands the power and magic potential in words. Learn more about Gordon Young and his proposal. www.torbay.gov.uk/agatha-christie-artwork/young
Hazel is a figurative sculptor based in Brighton. Hazel’s proposal is to create a statue in bronze. The statue will be dynamic, it will have intrigue with clues to Agatha’s life and work to engage passers-by as well as conveying humour, intelligence her love of travel and of course her affection for Torquay. Learn more about Hazel Reeves and her proposal. www.torbay.gov.uk/agatha-christie-artwork/reeves
Yorkshire Fine Arts / The Lost Foundry Devon
Steve Winterburn, sculptor at Yorkshire Fine Arts and Harvey Gardiner concept designer will work with The Lost Foundry Devon to capture the ‘spirit of Agatha Christie’ through a sculpture that portrays her special relationship with Torquay, Torbay and Devon, including her connection with nature, the outdoors, her passion from travel, people and places. An art piece with dynamic engaging movement, interaction, mystery and adventure. Learn more about Yorkshire Fine Arts and The Lost Foundry Devon. www.torbay.gov.uk/agatha-christie-artwork/yfa
The public will have the final say on the piece that will be developed and installed, by way of an online public vote. Voting opens today and closes on Sunday 16 January 2022; the winner will be announced shortly after. The winning design is planned to be unveiled in the autumn of 2022.
To help the public make their choice, each of the shortlisted artists has produced a video and supporting document as a PDF which sets out their vision. After learning more about each artist and their design, members of the public can complete a short online form, voting for their favourite piece.
The design chosen by the public will be installed as part of the harbour renewal and improvement scheme, which gets underway in the early part of 2022.
Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council, said; “Enhancing and celebrating Torbay’s cultural heritage is a key aspect of our regeneration plans. This new artwork will complement and complete the new look Strand and harbour area perfectly as we open up and re-energise the space so that can be enjoyed all year round by both residents and visitors.”
Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said; “Agatha Christie is without a doubt the most famous literary connection for Torbay. It’s great that the public can now get to decide on how they would like to see the spirit of Agatha Christie captured through this specially commissioned piece of artwork, in such a prominent position.”
The winning artist will be the one whose design receives the most votes. Members of the public are encouraged to review all proposals before making their vote as only one vote per person is allowed.
Further information on all of the shortlisted artists can be found via: https://www.torbay.gov.uk/regeneration/agatha-christie-commission/
More information on the Strand and harbour public realm improvement works can be found via: https://www.torbay.gov.uk/regeneration/
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