Two sculptures officially unveiled in Heysham and Sunderland Point
Anna Gillespie's SHIP at Half Moon Bay in sight of Heysham Port reflects Morecambe bay's landscape and maritime heritage and features two men sitting on the bow and stern of a ship looking in opposite directions.
The sculpture attracted plenty of attention during the week leading up to its official unveiling.
Artist Anna Gillespie said: "I came up with the idea of a simple ship with people sitting on it, up high to see out over the bay. It's what people do when they sit at the sea and contemplate. It's what the sea does to you, gives you a break and space. Hopefully people are going to see this when they look at the sculpture.
"Morecambe is a thriving place and has a real sense of community which is heartwarming. People care about this space and it’s for everyone.“I’ve been visiting lots and I’ve really come to appreciate how strong the community is here."Anna is 54, hails from Bath and has been an artist for 25 years. She mainly does sculptures and figures.The figures on the ends of the ship sculpture have holes in the middle and as Anna said: “I didn’t want to block the landscape, that is why the boat is hollow and you can see through the figures.
"The boat is made of Corten steel and over the next two months it will go rusty and that protects the steel. It’s the colour of the earth and I knew it would go with the grass, sky and sea. The figures are hollow structures with metal sculpted around them.
“The stone block in the middle is Longridge sandstone. It’s lovely to see people on the stone bench in the middle taking pictures. It’s a way of being in a place and that is what Morecambe Bay Partnership wanted.“It took 18 months to complete the sculpture. Sometimes I would have to stand back and think and then go back with a pair of fresh eyes. It’s about the past and the future.
"Vikings and Christians are in our past. The statues are male because it’s a male history. You have the Vikings and Saint Patrick, who were all men.
“If you had a man and a woman on the bow and stern of the ship it would have been like a relationship where they were sitting back to back - it didn’t seem right.
"The male figure is considered to represent the human race. All I can hope for myself is that at some point I can do another sculpture to balance it out.“The money for this statue comes from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this is not council money, it is money that people who buy lottery tickets have given.
“I think sculptures like this generate income because people come to Morecambe to see it and that generates investment and more money to go towards the NHS and schools.“If Morecambe needs a bit of economic investment in tourism, it all adds to the investment, it doesn’t take away."
Anna's artwork reflects the importance of seaborne trade in bringing news, innovation and shaping the character of the area.
Chris Drury's Horizon Line chamber was officially unveiled at Sunderland Point.
Having developed similar chambers around the UK and internationally, Sussex-based Drury responds to the heritage, landscape, naturally occurring materials and skills in the locations in which he works.
At Sunderland Point, reclaimed stone, some from collapsed buildings in the area, was used to reflect the area’s rich history, singular geography and relationship with the estuary waters, but also to provide an innovative experience of the landscape for everyone who steps inside.
With the helping hands of Master Craftsman and Stone Mason, Andrew Mason, and the residents of Sunderland Point the chamber acts as a self-contained projector for the world outside.
The sea, the changing light, bird, animal and human life will each play a starring role, as a lens built into the sea-facing wall turns this small oratory, shaped like an upturned boat, into a camera obscura.
Susannah Bleakley, chief executive of Morecambe Bay Partnership, said: “The Irish Sea was the M6 of Viking times, an important, busy transport route.
"We’re delighted to bring ‘Ship’ to Heysham, as it celebrates the significance of seaborne trade and our maritime past and present.
"Anna was commissioned after a competitive process because of the quality and reputation of her work and her passion and engagement with the sense of place that make Morecambe Bay and Heysham special.
‘’Ship’ brings us a step closer to completing the ambitious plans we launched last summer for new art and events with a profound legacy.
"Anna’s work will withstand time and the elements as a durable document of our shared vision of siting art at the heart of our communities and drawing creatively on Morecambe Bay’s incomparable landscape, ecology and ancient history.
"It’s very much in the spirit of the setting chosen for ‘Ship’ to wait for people to encounter it in their own time, over successive generations and by people arriving and passing-through from different places.”
The two sculptures are the latest in the celebrated run of Headlands To Headspace artworks and cultural event commissions, led by the Morecambe Bay Partnership.
Headlands to Headspace is a long-term project to complement, conserve capture and distil experiences of the vast, open views, big skies and long horizons, rich heritage and nature of Morecambe Bay.
The installation of a ‘field of mirrors’ artwork, titled Settlement at both Heysham Head and Birkrigg Common, near Ulverston by artist, Rob Mulholland, attracted an estimated 26,000 visitors during September 2018, marking out the programme as one of the region’s most successful to date.