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Antonia Stowe's: Sheep is pictured standing guard at Marshall’s Mill, Holbeck.  The red brick background provides an industrial backdrop which ties in to the original theme, the piece being based on times gone by when real sheep could be seen grazing on the rooftops of the nearby Temple Works.  Photo by: Dave Roberts.





Antonia Stowe

Genre: Sculpture

Article by: Dave Roberts - First Published: 26 October 2011

Location: Holbeck Urban Village

Created in 2005 and standing guard at Marshall's Mill, Sheep was a commission from Igloo Regeneration in Holbeck Urban Village. Four metres high, with illuminated blue eyes, artist Antonia Stowe was commissioned to make a sculpture as a reminder of the sheep that used to graze on the roof at neighbouring Temple Works - until one fell through a skylight!

Antonia’s work is based on public engagement and research, and is often undertaken with community involvement and dialogue. She researches the history and ideas of a particular site or space, delving beneath the obvious surface to unearth deeper stories and meanings. This research results in concepts, designs, images and 3D works that seek to embody a symbolic meaning of place; and so connect at an emotional level with the people and location in which the work is situated. Sometimes the works are challenging and thought provoking, such as 6 Million + Buttons and Cage, (a project about contemporary child slavery in the UK.)

Antonia has lived and worked in Leeds all her life, apart from three years in Hull where she did her BA in Fine Art and travelled. She is devoted to the city, and has been a significant contributor to the Leeds visual arts infrastructure for fifteen years. In addition to Sheep, Antonia has another large piece of public art permanently sited in Millennium Square, Leeds. Made in partnership with landscape architect Martin Smith, and involving children from Leeds and Durban in South Africa, From Freedom to the Future was commissioned by Leeds City Council and entered into the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show, where it was a prize-winner.

Other large-scale works include 6 Million + Buttons, commissioned by Kirklees Museums and Galleries and first shown in Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2006. This installation was initially commissioned to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, referencing the 6,000,000 people murdered in Nazi concentration camps, 4 million others and subsequent genocides. It has since toured the country, exhibiting in Newcastle, London, Dewsbury and Ripon Cathedral. It is currently being developed into a permanent artwork with discussions taking place to find a permanent site for it in Huddersfield.

Along with another sculptor, Antonia developed the infrastructure in 1999 for Leeds Sculpture Workshop. This involved finding a permanent home for the studio and creating a sustainable business model. This is where she has her own studio to develop her large-scale work, and it provides much needed making space for other professional sculptors in the city. Leeds Sculpture Workshop was first located in a disused mill in Holbeck before moving to their current premises north of the city centre when Holbeck began to be regenerated. This point marked her interest in large-scale architectural remodelling and since then she has been involved in several regeneration projects as an artist member of the design team. These include the Queensgate Revival project in Huddersfield (2008-09); Oakwell Hall, Birstall (2008) St Peter’s Garden, Huddersfield (2007) and Holbeck Urban Village (2006). She is currently working as an arts facilitator with Land Securities, the company who are building a large new shopping centre “Trinity Leeds” in Leeds city centre, a multi million pound development.

Nearly two years old in 2011, The Leeds Owl Trail is Antonia’s latest project. Established to inform and inspire people about Leeds' rich heritage and to create new owls for future generations to enjoy, over 88,000 maps per year have been printed to guide people around the Trail. Antonia has created the Every Owl Matters education project to accompany the city owl trail amongst many other ideas in development.

Antonia is also an experienced facilitator of projects within an education setting. She has worked on a diverse range of community and schools projects, from designing a creative learning space for a school to The Bumps, a refurbished park area and entranceway to communal land.


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Antonia Stowe | Sculpture | Sheep





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