Seaham coast inspires art project on German link

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SEAHAM’S coastline is the inspiration for a work of art celebrating the 25th anniversary of the area’s twinning with the German town of Gerlingen.

Derek Charlton, 66, put a group of six artists – known as Artists@SeahamCollective – together to create a series of works which commemorate different aspects of the relationship between the towns.

Artists from Seaham Collective, Derek Charlton and Ian Horn with one of the artwork pieces on display in Seaham.

Artists from Seaham Collective, Derek Charlton and Ian Horn with one of the artwork pieces on display in Seaham.

The installation, called Creative Coast, is on display at Vane Tempest Beach and will stay until Wednesday, July 31.

“It’s all about the twinning of the two towns,” said Derek. “My work – The Twinning Game – shows a game of snooker.

“It is a universal game that everyone can play, and like with the values of the twinning of the towns, in snooker we invite each other into our lives and culture.”

Derek’s installation uses big lobster pots instead of pockets at the corner of the snooker table to represent Seaham’s coastal history.

The snooker balls sit slightly above the grass so that they can move in the breeze.

“I wanted the grass to be able to blow under the balls to mimic the movement of the sea,” said Derek.

“Again that represents the seaside and marina.”

The other works include unity, by Paul S Richardson, which he describes as matchsick people, representing the simplest form of humans, unified, and standing together.

Artists David Gross, Ian Horn and Mark Cowan have made a timber sculpture, called Scrimshaw, from the anchor of a ship that David restored for the Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough.

Artists Bruce Burn and David Gross collaborated to create a work called Vane Tempest Staithes. Fashioned out of a piece of old industrial timber, it represents stories of growing up in the busy mining town of mid-20th century Seaham.

The installation, in association with Durham Heritage Coast, has been sponsored by a number of local businesses, and supported by Durham County Council.

“We are giving something to Seaham and Gerlingen,” said Derek, who studied a masters degree in fine art at Sunderland University.

“We want it to be a gift for the anniversary. It will stay in Seaham until August when it will be transported to Gerlingen to go on show at a festival in the town.”