Many of you will be very familiar with the fascinating chalk figures of the Long Man and the Cerne Abbas Giant. The Cerne Abbas Giant is unambiguously male but I have long argued that the Long Man possesses features that make the figure’s sex a little harder to define. What each figure’s original purpose was remains a mystery to us, a puzzle that only adds to their appeal. Whatever the reason for their creation, these pieces of art writ large upon the landscape are impressive and compelling.
In Cramlington, Northumberland a giant landscape figure has recently been created. There is no confusion about the figure’s gender; ‘Northumberlandia’ is undoubtedly female. Like the Eden project in Cornwall, she emerges from the scarred ground of a surface mine. She is 1,300 ft long and stands 112 ft at her highest point, built from 1.5m tonnes of rock, soil, stone and clay. Her surfaces have been seeded and eventually she will become a haven for nature and a beautiful place for people to visit and enjoy. Her creator Charles Jencks, although the designer, was surprised by the impact of Northumberlandia’s vast size as she began to take shape. It is easy to view this stunning figure as an image of the Earth Goddess: abundance and beauty emerging once again from a place that had seemed starkly void of life. Rising up from the bleak and bare landscape of the Shotton Surface Mine, she speaks of renewal and rebirth from the Earth’s body – a symbol of the gift of nature’s deep generosity and magical powers of regeneration.
Read more about the Naked Lady here: