Sand mountain artwork to be created on Roker Beach as part of national event

Sand mountains will be springing up on Roker Beach as part of a new artwork.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 5:45 pm
The public are being invited to help build the sand mountains.

People are being invited to try their hand at crafting sand mountains for the participatory art work on Sunday, August 18 from 10am to 2pm.

The brainchild of artist Katie Paterson, First There is a Mountain is a nationwide event which will be taking place over summer 2019, touring beaches along the UK coastline.

Using bespoke designed buckets and spades in the form of mountain ranges, participants are invited to build mountains of sand, sculpting beaches into thousands of miniature sand mountain ranges to form ephemeral micro-geologies.

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First There is a Mountain looks to raise awareness of the UK’s eroding coastline and connect the public to the ‘world’s diverse mountains ranges’, using five compostable pails that double as scale models of five mountains from around the world: Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (USA), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe), and Uluru (Oceania). Made from white bioplastic, the five buckets nest together.

The project will tour 25 coastal art venues around the UK during British Summer Time, which relates to concepts around gravitational attraction and the planet’s tilted axis that results in longer daylight hours. Each venue around the UK will stage a sand pail building event on their local beach, playing out the world's natural geography against a series of tidal times.

Rebecca Ball, creative director for Sunderland Culture, said: “It’s great to be hosting Katie Paterson’s artwork here in Sunderland and to be joining people from across the UK in transforming our beautiful coastline into a series of mountain ranges for the day. The event is free and a great day out for all the family, so we look forward to people coming down to Roker Beach and dropping by to create their own sand mountains.”

Katie Paterson is widely regarded as one of the leading artists of her generation. Collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment.

Explaining the project, the artist said: “From early childhood we understand that sand marks time. First There is a Mountain builds upon this concept, making us aware of mountain rocks’ erosion over millennia, rock shifting across earth over continent’s evolution, forming unique fingerprints of sand across our modern coastline.

“The artwork invites the public to slow down and to consider the interconnectedness of the world, its immensity conveyed in miniature. Connecting the archipelago via one water, one tide, one sand – carrying mountains of sand across time. The extraordinary existing in ordinary things, everywhere.”

The project is supported by National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.