Sculptor Sebastien Boyesen chosen to create Cranogwen statue in Llangrannog

Sebastien Boyesen will create the statue of Cranogwen that will stand in Llangrannog Credit: PA

The sculptor responsible for creating Wales’ latest ‘real Welsh woman’ statue has been selected. 

Acclaimed sculptor Sebastien Boyesen has been commissioned to create a life-size figurative sculpture of Sarah Jane Rees, known by her bardic name of Cranogwen.

Cranogwen, born in the parish of Llangrannog in 1839 was a mariner, teacher, poet, journalist, preacher and campaigner.

Her achievements saw her shortlisted as one of Wales’s Hidden Heroines and she is the third statue commissioned by Monumental Welsh Women of a ‘real Welsh woman’. 

Sebastien Boyesen has designed famous Welsh statues such as The Guardian and Chartist Man

Sebastien Boyesen, lives and works in Llangrannog and has a vast portfolio of designing and implementing figurative public artwork across the UK. 

A site for the long-anticipated sculpture has been sourced in the centre of Llangrannog near the church where Sarah Jane Rees is buried. 

It will follow the unveiling of a sculpture of Wales’ first black headteacher, Betty Campbell, in Cardiff in September, and one of Elaine Morgan, the evolutionary theorist and dramatist, which will be unveiled in Mountain Ash next year.

The new statue of Betty Campbell in Cardiff has been heralded as a watershed moment for BAME and women's history in Wales Credit: PA

Helen Molyneux from Monumental Welsh Women (MWW) said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the commissioning of our project’s third statue of a real Welsh woman. 

“Cranogwen was an inspirational woman whose reputation and influence spread not just across Wales but internationally, at a time when many women rarely left villages they were born in. 

“This will be the third statue commissioned by the Monumental Welsh Women project to celebrate the achievements of Wales’ hidden heroines – the women whose contributions to Welsh life and culture have been largely overlooked because of the era they were born in. 

In recognition of her life’s work and her encouragement of other women, MWW has partnered with Carmarthen School of Art, to award a paid mentorship to emerging post-graduate female sculptor Kezia Ferguson to work on the sculpture. 

Sebastien and Kezia inspecting his St Carannog sculpture that overlooks Llangrannog

Keziah said: “I feel incredibly privileged to be involved in the project, to honour the legacy of Cranogwen. 

“The warm reception I received in Llangrannog has made me doubly excited to start work with Seb and the team.”

In response to being commissioned to create the statue, Sebastien Boyesen said: “[It] is both an honour and privilege and is something I would consider to be a highlight of my career. 

“I look forward to developing the work with our amazing team including working with Keziah as an emerging sculptor mentee, and hope that I can repay the trust placed in me by creating a wonderful legacy for the village and wider community that celebrates the achievements of an inspirational Welsh woman.”