Sunderland artist crafts striking sculpture to highlight red squirrel plight

Dan Gough with his Scurry sculpture. Photos by Mark Pinder.
Dan Gough with his Scurry sculpture. Photos by Mark Pinder.
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A Sunderland artist has spent nine months crafting an eye-catching sculpture to highlight the plight of red squirrels.

Dan Gough’s work Scurry features 2,000 hand-crafted red and grey squirrels to shine a light on the worrying decline of the red squirrel population in its native habitat in the UK.

The artist spent almost a year creating the large-scale sculpture at National Glass Centre which is being unveiled this weekend.

It has been installed at sculpture garden and gallery Cheeseburn, in Stamfordham, Northumberland, after Dan was announced as the first winner of its Gillian

Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year competition.

Dan has been mentored through the whole process of the design and production of his work by Cheeseburn curator, Matthew Jarratt.

He said: “Dan had some stiff competition originally but his project really struck a chord with us in that it is particularly topical right now with the worrying decline in the red squirrel population. Dan has worked really hard to bring life to his proposal and we are all really excited to see the finished work in situ.”

Director and founder of Cheeseburn Sculpture, Joanna Riddell, said : “We hope that this unique opportunity will help Dan to develop his career as an artist – which

is the main purpose of the award.”

Nick Mason – Red Squirrels Northern England project manager said: “Scurry will provide an exciting new visual perspective on the emotive relationships we have

with squirrels of both species in the UK and I would encourage all to go and explore how it makes them feel”. 

Cheeseburn Sculpture will open for its first weekends of 2017 on Saturday, May 20 and 21.

In the meantime, Cheeseburn Sculpture has announced the shortlist of artists in its second annual North East Young Sculptor of the Year competition.

Over thirty artists, aged 18 - 25 years old applied and the shortlist of 12 sees a number of the region’s universities represented, including a number of Sunderland artists.