Ray Lonsdale has achieved widespread acclaim in the North East due to his ‘Tommy’ sculpture in Seaham, depicting a tired and battle-weary World War I soldier, and also created the recent Boer War statue, Heroism of a Silent Gun in Hartlepool. Lonsdale creates rough-hewn statues with welds clearly visible, wringing pathos from weathering steel.
Blank Canvas – installed in South Bank’s £3.5m Eco Village on 29th December 2012 – depicts two workers carrying a heavy load. I spoke to Ray via email and he explained its meaning:
“Blank Canvas came about after being contacted by Redcar and Cleveland council as they were looking for something to represent the industry of the area.
I thought of a design that showed a metaphorical ‘passing of the baton’ as two men worked together to complete a task. One older and one a young’n with the older gent passing the skills and work ethic on to the next generation.”
At the unveiling, Councillor Olwyn Peters was quoted in the Northern Echo as saying: “This sculpture is a wonderful addition to South Bank and Ray has done an outstanding job in creating it. I am delighted to see it unveiled and am sure it will become a popular local landmark for generations to come.”