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Ships that pass for art

MARITIME HISTORY: Artist John Kippin stands beside a large-scale art project called Ships That Pass, on the glass-fronted sides of the National Glass Centre.

MARITIME HISTORY: Artist John Kippin stands beside a large-scale art project called Ships That Pass, on the glass-fronted sides of the National Glass Centre.

SIX hundred years of global shipbuilding on the River Wear is to be celebrated by a renowned artist.

The exhibition at the National Glass Centre is part of the region’s first contemporary photography festival.

Professor John Kippin has created a large-scale photographic work, Ships That Pass, for the riverside windows of the arts venue in Sunderland.

The newly-created artwork references the River Wear and the sense of purpose it achieved in more than 600 years of making ships of every kind for the world.

The installation also celebrates the modelmaking of Fred Gooch – a one time employee of Sunderland Shipbuilders – who was responsible for constructing the model ships.

Ships that Pass has been commissioned in partnership with the National Glass Centre.

John, a professor in photography at the University’s Northern Centre of Photography, said: “Looking out towards the River Wear from the National Glass Centre it is difficult to imagine the scale of shipbuilding activity undertaken on this now calm and seemingly implacable river.

“From its position as the largest shipbuilding town in the world, Sunderland has struggled to find a sense of identity and purpose to replace its historic achievements in mining and shipbuilding.

“The legacy of a move from an economy based on manufacturing and extraction to one based on the financial and service sector has proved itself inadequate in the task of providing an acceptable level of employment that is capable of supporting families, and has cemented a damaging north-south divide that continues to widen.”

 

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