Supporting and participating in the cultural regeneration of Tyneside, Advocate is one of the latest sculptures to appear in Newcastle upon Tyne, standing pride of place in Central Square. The dynamic work, by American artist Bruce Beasley, shows a tower on bronze blocks on the verge of collapse. As if to reflect the increasing local engagement with the arts, Beasley’s sculpture entices viewers to walk around it, offering a tangible sense of tension and impending movement.
The Angel of the North is the visible symbol of the amalgamation of Newcastle and Gateshead. The 66ft steel sculpture was a bold but immensely controversial public artwork that instantly dominated the landscape. Its skeletal frame and rust-red exterior initially gave off the impression that the Angel was unfinished or abandoned. For a long time, locals were uncertain about the sculpture, but artist Antony Gormley remained confident that he had designed something for the people. He included a subtle flourish that he hoped would subconsciously lead residents to embrace his Angel – the wings are angled forward 3.5 degrees giving the sense that it’s arms are reaching out to welcome visitors.
Sean Henry’s surreal bronze sculptures depict three alter egos of an Everyman character, one strolling purposefully into the city, another resolutely facing the wind and the third absurdly suspended on his elbow. Positioned across the road from the region’s busiest train stations, Henry’s sculptures have inspired shocked double-takes and surprised smiles from local and tourists alike.
Thought to be the largest landscape replica of the female body in the world, Northumberlandia is a languid and sultry sculpture which recalls ancient chalk drawings. Curving footpaths wrap around her elegant form and mark out the elemental shapes of a body. The work itself is created by products of a nearby open cast mine and layered with soil and grass. Whilst it may seem unfortunate that the perfect view of Northumberlandia would be from a helicopter, visitors can become truly immersed in the sculpture as they explore and ramble up and down the paths testing out new and abstract perspectives of this behemothic creation.