Sebastien Boyesen

Sebastien Boyesen with the Angel of the Valleys sculpture in progress

Last updated: 24 June 2010

Renowned sculptor Sebastian Boyesen was commissioned to design and build the new Six Bells Miners Memorial to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Six Bells Colliery disaster. He lives in the coastal village of Llangrannog in Ceredigion.

Sebastien Boyesen was born in Sussex in 1960. He studied at Cambridge College of Art and Technology between 1976 and 1978, and at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design from 1978 to 1981.

He followed this with a one year postgrad course in Stage Design at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. And in 1983 Boyesen won the Welsh Arts Council Young Artists Award.

Between late 1987 and 1989 he held the role of Sculptor for Heritage Projects in York, working on figurative museum exhibits.

In 1991 the Merchant Navy Memorial was unveiled in Newport in south Wales, and soon after Boyesen took up the post of town sculptor for Newport Borough Council.

Works during his time in the post include This Little Piggy Went To Market, Mural for the Library, Museum and Art Gallery, VE VJ memorial in the town centre (a cut granite floor mosaic), and The Vision Of St Gwynllyw, also known as The Bell Carrier.

Boyesen's sculptures Mortal Coil and The Vision Of St Gwynllyw, courtesy of the artist

Boyesen's sculptures Mortal Coil and The Vision Of St Gwynllyw, courtesy of the artist.

The late 1990s saw The Broadway Wall installed for Mid Glamorgan County Council and the installations of the Scott Harbour Compass Rose in Cardiff Bay and the Wigan market place floor mosaic.

Major works in the noughties include the Sunny Bar Gateway in Doncaster, two Millennium Markers sculptures in Blackburn, the Mortal Coil bronze sculpture for Neath Port Talbot Borough Council, Radstock Miners Memorial and the Battle of Britain Memorial for Westminster Council.

More recently, Boyesen has been involved with the Chester-le-Street Civic Heart regeneration scheme and has seen the installation of sculptures Chartist Man and Lantern in Blackwood, south Wales.

In 2009 he was commissioned to design and build the new Six Bells Miners Memorial to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of the Six Bells Colliery tragedy, after Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and Six Bells Communities First secured the funding necessary to finance the project.

Costing £200,000, the memorial is a 12.6m high statue of a miner constructed of slices of corten steel standing on a 7.4m high sandstone face plinth. The name, age and occupation of each of the 45 victims is to be laser cut into the corten steel band that surrounds the plinth.

Boyesen feels that the project represents a unique opportunity to remind the public of Wales' impact on the mining industry at large: "It is an opportunity to say something about an event which happened in the 1960s that is still felt deeply by the local community.

"The industrial revolution was fired by Welsh coal and ultimately, the British Empire was built using Welsh coal. People have forgotten this and the incredibly high cost that coal had on the local communities."

A future project for the sculptor is a life-size figurative bronze sculpture of Saint Carannog as part of a community project organized and funded by the residents of Llangrannog.

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