Acclaimed sculptor, Sebastien Boyesen, has been commissioned to create a life-size figurative sculpture of Sarah Jane Rees, a legendary Welsh figure known by her bardic name Cranogwen in Llangrannog, West Wales.
A mariner, teacher, poet, journalist, campaigner and preacher born in the parish of Llangrannog in 1839, Cranogwen was a pioneer of her age and, suitably, was recently shortlisted as one of Wales’ Hidden Heroines. Noteworthy for many achievements all attained in defiance of the standards of womanhood in place during the Victorian era, this ‘real welsh Woman’ sculpture of Cranogwen will be the third of its kind commissioned by The Monumental Welsh Women (MWW), in partnership with Cerflun Cymunedol Cranogwen Community Monument (CCCCM).
Anne-Marie Bollen, a member of CCCCM, said: “We aim to celebrate the ambition and success of our pioneering local heroine Cranogwen and to commemorate her life and achievements to inspire future generations.”
Sebastien Boyesen – a sculptor, artist and designer with over thirty-five years of experience – has been selected for this prestigious commission. Boyesen lives and works in Llangrannog. He is known for a contemporary style with an impressive portfolio of figurative public artwork including Guardian, the 20-meter sculpture created for the 50th anniversary of the 1960 mining disaster in Six Bells. MWW have cited how impressed they were with Boyesen’s personal research into the life and representation of Cranogwen, as well as his experience, as reasons for his selection for this important memorial.
Speaking of the commission, Sebastien Boyesen said:
“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.”
You can find out more information about the work of MWW here.
Read a short bio of Sarah Jane Rees here.