Coming to the UK -- a half-mile long woman's body

Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:23am EDT
 
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By Jonathan Gilbert

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The world's largest sculpture of a human body is being carved out of the British landscape using more than a million tonnes of rock and soil left behind by coal-mining.

"Northumberlandia," designed by American landscape architect Charles Jencks, will be nearly half a mile long when it is finished in 2013.

The sculpture, of a woman's body, has already been given the epithet "Goddess of the North' by locals in Northumberland in the far northeast of England, a part of the world that is no stranger to grand man-made projects.

Hadrian's Wall, built by the Romans, massive baronial castles, coalmines, shipyards and the huge Angel of the North sculpture by Antony Gormley, are all features of its landscape.

The best views of Northumberlandia are from the air, but visitors will be able to see her features up close by wandering the four-mile network of paths that run along the curves of her body.

One-and-a-half million tonnes of soil and clay taken from the nearby Shotton surface mine are being used to make the sculpture, which workers have been crafting for around a year.

Harvard-educated designer Jencks, 71, who was born in Fife, Scotland, said: "This is very much like alchemy; turning coal into energy and landscape into art.

"It offers us the opportunity to create art from the necessity of extracting coal."   Continued...