Cairney to host new Sky Arts series Landmark

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Broadcaster, DJ and author Gemma Cairney will delve into the purpose and power of public art as she joins Sky Arts on a mission to create the UK’s next major landmark. She’ll be joined along the way by two expert judges – curator Clare Lilley and visual artist Hetain Patel – as well as six famous faces, all of them ready to root out the best artistic talent in the region or nation they call home. Appearing in the series are:

  • Mark Radcliffe: Broadcaster, musician and writer representing the North of England
  • Benjamin Zephaniah: Writer and poet representing the Midlands
  • Russell Tovey: Actor representing the South of England
  • Denise Mina: Crime writer and playwright representing Scotland
  • Charlotte Church: Singer-songwriter representing Wales
  • Michelle Fairley: Game of Thrones actress representing Northern Ireland

Now filming across the country, Sky Arts’ bold new series produced by Primal Media (Jerk, Home Free), will see artists from Glasgow to Guildford create a new wave of Great British public art. Six heats will take place across the UK, each spotlighting three artists who will compete to create local landmarks for their home region.

Working across mediums varying from ceramics and bronze to LEDs and inflatables, the artists will build, weld and sculpt under the watchful eyes of two expert judges, Clare and Hetain, as well as the celebrity guest judge representing their region or nation. The pressure is on.

At the end of each heat, the landmarks will be unveiled to the local community, who will join the judges to deliberate on which piece best sums up their area. The winning artists will gain a coveted place in the final where they will pitch for a national landmark which one of them will be commissioned to create. The final landmark will be on display in Coventry, UK City of Culture for 2021.

Sky Arts will invest £700,000 in public art over the course of the series, with £250,000 dedicated to the final piece. This covers materials, artist fees and maintaining the regional and national landmarks for years to come.

Cairney commented: “I’ve never worked on a TV programme that I’ve learnt so much in the process of making! I’ve learnt from the artists, the judges and the art itself. Travelling the UK uncovering the different practices and sentiments behind artists wanting to make work for the public has been a fascinating and emotional lesson in the big conversations so many of us seem to want to have after a time where we’ve been confined to our homes and echo chambers.”

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment, commented: “The art we have in our public spaces is always the subject of fierce debate and with Landmark we aim to bring artists together with their communities to create beautiful work that will bring joy to their local places. We are thrilled to be working with some incredibly talented artists, judges and guest judges and to be partnering with Coventry City of Culture who’ll be providing a home for a spectacular final piece.”

Barbara Lee, Commissioning Editor for Sky, commented: “Public art is a powerful tool for all of us as an expression of our local identities and pride in our hometowns. It also allows us to bring to life the things that really matter to us. Landmark follows a brilliant cohort of artists as they tackle exactly this, creating public artworks which are both aesthetically striking and hold real cultural value. We can’t wait for you to see what they’ve come up with.”

Landmark was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland and Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment. The Commissioning Editor for Sky is Barbara Lee. The Executive Producer for Primal Media is Sadia Butt.

Landmark will air on Sky Arts, now free for everyone to watch on Freeview Channel 11, this autumn.


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