Sculptor named for statue of black head teacher

Betty Campbell
Image caption Betty Campbell taught at Mount Stuart in Butetown for 28 years

Sculptor Eve Shepherd has been chosen to create a statue of the first black head teacher in Wales.

Betty Campbell – who died in 2017 – was a champion of multi-cultural education in Cardiff’s Butetown community.

Her family, who were involved in the selection, said the design “really captures the essence of our mother”.

Ms Shepherd, chosen from a shortlist of three, has recently been commissioned for statues of physicist Prof Stephen Hawking.

The statue is due to be unveiled in a new public square opposite the new BBC Wales headquarters in Central Square in 2020.

Ms Shepherd, born in Sheffield and living in Brighton, has been called “unique in the world of modern sculptors”.

She and two other contemporary female sculptors were asked to submit design ideas and initial model to a panel set up by Monumental Welsh Women (MWW).

Mrs Campbell was chosen from a public poll of five “hidden heroines” from Welsh history.

Organisers said it would be the first statue of a named, real woman in Wales.

Image copyright Betty Campbell
Image caption Betty Campbell was born to a Jamaican father and Welsh Barbadian mother in 1934
Image caption Betty Campbell during a royal visit to her school in 1994. She was awarded the MBE in 2003

Mrs Campbell, who died in October 2017 aged 82, was the long-serving former head of Mount Stuart Primary School and a former councillor in the docklands community where she was born.

She was described as a “true pioneer” and an “inspiration”.

Helen Molyneux, from MWW, said Ms Shepherd had “clearly done a lot of work to understand Betty as a person and as a symbol”.

She added: “The brief that the artists were given was to produce a work of art which would become a Cardiff icon – the place that every visitor to Cardiff would go to take a selfie.

“Eve’s design will be a real talking point and a great asset to Cardiff as well as being a true commemoration of Betty Campbell.”

Image copyright Eve Shepherd
Image caption Eve Shepherd will not be revealing her design for the Betty Campbell statue until a later date

Ms Shepherd said: “I am so honoured and humbled to be selected to make such a momentous monument to Betty, to women, to Welsh women, to black women and the community as a whole.

“I was drawn to Betty both as a person of tremendous and formidable spirit and for the incredible work she did”.

The early design is not being revealed yet, but Elaine Clarke, Mrs Campbell’s daughter, said it encapsulated her mother “in a way that ensures her legacy of determination, aspiration and inspiration lives on for generations to come”.

Simon Campbell, her son, said: “When I showed a picture of it to my dad his face lit up – I knew then that this was the right choice.”

The statue is being paid for by a mix of private, corporate and Welsh Government funding, with some more fundraising over the next year.

Image copyright Rightacres
Image caption The statue will feature in a public space in front of a new development, which will replace shops and offices in St David’s House in Cardiff



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