Public Art

Shopper and child

The Shopper and child by Graham Ibbeson

Shopper and child

About Shopper and child

Those of us of a certain age will remember the Shopper and child, which used to stand on a plinth just outside the Cleveland Centre on Linthorpe Road.

It was an early work by Barnsley’s Graham Ibbeson and was based on members of his own family: the Shopper and Child were modelled on Graham’s wife Carol and son Max (who is pointing excitedly at his grandad).

The statues appeared in late 1983 as part of The Urban Programme, a government initiative that granted funds for public works in the 1980s and ’90s. Their lifespan wasn’t entirely without incident; they tended to attract late night revellers from the local pubs and clubs and the Shopper lost an arm a few years after its installation (it was swiftly repaired).

Shopper and child watched over shoppers until the early ’90s, before being removed when the area was remodelled. Afterwards, the statues were kept in storage at Stewart Park, before eventually ending up in the garden of Ayresome School some years later (where they were repainted by staff and students).

Shopper and child was not Ibbeson’s only work in the town; he also created the partner work The Gardner and he later created The Scales of Justice, which stands outside the Combined Court Centre in Middlesbrough.

Many thanks to Tony Duggan, former Development Manager at Middlesbrough Council, for providing additional information on these works.


Graham Ibbeson


The Shopper and child by Graham Ibbeson


The work was funded through the Middlesbrough Urban Programme.

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#brilliantlyboro #creativefactory takeover!

Join us from 10am today for our week-long take-over of the #brilliantlyboro #creativefactory space in the Hill Street Centre, Middlesbrough, where we will be working from for the next week. So if you’re in Boro and fancy popping along and meeting with us, then we look forward to seeing you.

What’s Going On

There will be a number of things happening every day – from the screening of our curated Life films, as part of Real Tees Valley, to our exploration of your memories of public art across Teesside to a reflection on the books we have published over the years – we’ll also be announcing each morning a series of special guests who’ll be joining us that day. So keep your eyes peeled for more information…

Real Tees Valley Films

If you enjoyed the of our Real Tees Valley Films then you’ll be excited to know that the #brilliantlyboro space will be the Middlesbrough stop of our Real Tees Valley Film Trail and you’ll be able to see our five films curated on the theme of LIfe.

Public Art

From our foundation in 1983 until the late 2000s Cleveland and the Tees Valley Arts was one of the largest commissioners of public art in the country, yet we only have a photographic record of those commissions.

So we’ve printed those photographs and brought them to the space so that we can hear your stories and memories of these pieces of public art, some of which are no longer in place.


Over the past thirty years, we have published many pamphlets, books, anthologies and other publications to document our work. Many of these works feature the writing of the people we were collaborating with.

Did you participate in one of these projects? Did your work get published?

If so we’d like to hear your story and if you’d like a copy of the work you contributed towards, we have a number of surplus copies that we’ll be happy to give you.

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