Millennium logo is unveiled

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The Independent Online
A "NEW BRITANNIA" mother figure looking into the future was unveiled yesterday as the pounds 140,000 logo which will symbolise the Millennium Dome around the world.

After heated discussions over what sex to make the giant statue, to be built inside the Greenwich exhibition, the figure, which will appear on promotional material, flags and tickets, is most definitely a woman.

With her hair blowing out behind her and one arm reaching towards the stars, the model - based on a copper sculpture - is straddling the meridian line and moving from the darkness of the old millennium into the future. The dome is represented by the crescent-shaped tail of the star over-arching the figure.

But organisers were keen for the Greenwich event not to dominate the design, which will be used to link together all the Millennium festival events and other celebrations being planned nationwide.

The figure has already been dubbed the "New Britannia" - a 21st-century equivalent to the trident-wielding figurehead used to represent Britain.

Designer Martin Lambie Nairn, the man behind the new BBC and Channel 4 logos, said the figure "symbolised the nation's caring and confident aspirations for the new millen- nium". He was paid pounds 50,000 for his work, which was based on a sculpture by leading British contemporary artist Mark Reddy, who was paid pounds 90,000 to create the figure.

A spokesman for the New Millennium Experience Company said: "In the year 2000 this is going to be one of the most recognised symbols in the world.

"It's not just about the dome, it's about the Millennium Challenge, the festival and all the other celebrations that will be taking place.

"It's a very striking image and we're confident that it will become instantly recognisable as a symbol of the Millennium.

"The fact that it's a woman has no bearing on what sex the statue inside the Dome will be. It symbolises the nation and traditionally in this country we've always had a mother figure."

Mr Reddy said: "It's a universal figure which draws on the history of all people and tries to pull cultures together. My figures are supposed to be a celebration of humankind and they have always been an attempt to recover the sense of spirituality that we have lost."