Blank Canvas (South Bank, Ray Lonsdale, 2012)

Photograph by Helen Crute

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.”

Photo by Helen Crute

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.”

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