Art UK invites public to design sculpture emoji

Art UK launches competition to design a new sculpture emoji

Yosola Olorunshola, 01.08.2019
Symbol intended to represent sculpture as a universal language
Art UK has launched a competition to create a new emoji that captures the medium of sculpture.

The competition aims to highlight sculpture as a universal language. While two sculpture-based emojis exist – representing the Moai (Easter Island Rapa Nui figures) and the Statue of Liberty – both live in the Travel and Places category. Currently, visual art can only be represented as painting. The new sculpture would sit in the Objects category, adding a new way to represent visual art in the emoji landscape.

The competition is inspired by Art UK’s ongoing sculpture project to create a free-to-access online record of all publicly-owned sculptures in the UK – making the UK the first country in the world to do this. It will see more than 100,000 works digitised on the Art UK website as part of the largest sculpture cataloguing project undertaken in the country.

“The competition supports Art UK’s mission to bring sculpture into our everyday lives. We hope it will inspire some great designs, more interest in sculpture and lively discussions about the artform,” said Andrew Ellis, the director of Art UK.

Judges include the visual artist Cornelia Parker, the director of programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Clare Lilley, the visual artist Rana Begum and the social media blog and zine Tabloid Art History. The judges will select a shortlist of designs to be submitted to a public vote on Art UK's Twitter. The winner will be submitted to the Unicode consortium – an organisation that enables people around the world to use computers and phones in any language.

“Even though they are fun little icons to add to text, emojis can hold a lot of meaning for people. This is why the addition of skin tones or even different foods has been valuable to different communities – it’s about representation,” said Ferren Gibson, the social media marketer at Art UK.

“A sculpture emoji will be a great way for the art and museum community to create something of our own to celebrate a beautiful medium. As a society, we know that sculpture is important because it is commissioned to go in public spaces around the world – it’s high time for an emoji. Plus, the painting emoji is getting lonely in the Objects category!”

The deadline for entries is 9 August. Visit Art UK to add your entry to the emoji landscape.