“Help us create some Mackem Magic,” say a pair of artists who are painting a quirky picture of Sunderland.
Photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale have taken over a derelict furniture shop in Fawcett Street for a month in a celebration of the weird and wonderful aspects of the city.
Pease pudding, a Mackem nativity and Dave the Rave are among the photographs on display at the Pride of Place project, which the artists hope Wearsiders will add to.
They are appealing for people to pop in with their own photos, drawings, poems and more which depict their Sunderland.
“It’s half exhibition and half a Tourist Information Office in reverse, in which people give us information,” explained Jan. “We look beyond the obvious images of Sunderland, and look at the extraordinary.”
The pair have been photographing their own images of Sunderland on a number of visits to the city.
It’s half exhibition and half a Tourist Information Office in reverse, in which people give us information.
“One thing we noticed is that there are lots of clocks in Sunderland, but none of them tell the same time. It’s like there’s a Sunderland time,” said Jan.
As part of their time in the city, the artists are also hosting an exhibition of their work, Extra(ordinary), which features photos taken across Britain, at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA), in Fawcett Street. They’ve also been out and about in their yellow caravan, a touring gallery, which has been at venues including The Bridges and Penshaw Monument. It was at the National Glass Centre, its final location, yesterday for people to call in and see the work on display.
Sunderland is the first place on the artists’ national tour, which will see them travelling the length and breadth of Britain throughout 2015 and 2016 to create a snapshot of the country.
Alistair Robinson, programme director at NGCA, said: “There are some scenes at the Pride of Place Project which people will be familiar with, but there is so much underneath one’s nose that takes an artist, someone with a well-trained eye, to bring to light. And that’s what’s brilliant about Chris and Jan. They find the light and the shade in all the places they visit.
“We jumped at the chance to work with them and their exhibition at the gallery has been very well received. We’ve had people knocking at the door to get in before the gallery opens, which rarely happens. We’re lucky to be the first venue on this tour.”
Coun Barry Curran, deputy mayor of Sunderland, said: “For me this project fits in with what we are trying to achieve in Sunderland with the arts and cultural quarters.
“I think people will be inspired by these photos to create their own art works and it’s great that you don’t have to be an artist to get involved, anyone can take part.
“Everyone knows the typical images of Sunderland, the pier, the bridge, the Stadium of Light, but this steps away from the usual. It encourages people to look at their city in a different way and to tell their story of Sunderland.”
•The Pride of Place Project is at 18 Fawcett Street until May 1. It’s open as a drop in from 11am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
•The Extra(ordinary) exhibition is at NGCA until May 1.