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Children compete to copy Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ draped seated lady sculpture at Canary Wharf

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 February 2020

Old Flo today... Henry Moore's 'Draped Seated Lady' bronze sculpture now on public display at Canary Wharf.  Picture: LBTH

Old Flo today... Henry Moore's 'Draped Seated Lady' bronze sculpture now on public display at Canary Wharf. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

Henry Moore’s famous ‘Draped Seated Lady’ sculpture that he gifted to the people of the East End nearly 60 years ago is now modelling again for a new generation of young wannabe artists.

Original location for Moore's Seated Lady sculpture in 1962... outside Wickham House on Stepney's former Stifford Estate. Picture: London Met ArchiveOriginal location for Moore's Seated Lady sculpture in 1962... outside Wickham House on Stepney's former Stifford Estate. Picture: London Met Archive

Winners and runners-up of the Old Flo art competition for schoolchildren are to have their work on public display at Canary Wharf's Community Gallery at Canada Place Mall from March 11 for four weeks.

The competition marks Canary Wharf playing host to Henry Moore's historic 8ft bronze sculpture, affectionately known as "Old Flo", which the artist donated when Stepney's Stifford housing estate was opened by the London County Council in 1962.

Ownership went to the new GLC in 1965 until the authority ceased in 1986 and later switched to Tower Hamlets Council which took over the Stifford Estate.

Old Flo was languishing in a field in Yorkshire before being returned to the East End in 2018. Picture: Ken MearsOld Flo was languishing in a field in Yorkshire before being returned to the East End in 2018. Picture: Ken Mears

But Old Flo "went missing" when the estate was pulled down in 1997 and didn't turned up until 2012 in a field in Yorkshire, which led to a battle for ownership in the High Court won by Tower Hamlets.

But trouble brews for Old Flo when the council then tried to auction it off for £20m against a public outcry, claiming there was nowhere to put it on secure public display anywhere in the East End.

The day was saved when Canary Wharf Group found a spot for Old Flo and agreed to put the 1.5 tonne bronze sculpture back on public show in 2017.

How Karim Yusairah from Seven Mills Primary School sees Old Flo... Picture: CWGHow Karim Yusairah from Seven Mills Primary School sees Old Flo... Picture: CWG

Now the schools' art competition is raising awareness about Moore's masterpiece to younger generations who weren't even born when he gave it to the people of the East End.

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