Exhibition & artist talk
Join OCA tutor Wendy McMurdo in Newcastle on the 13 May. We will view the work of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen and later hear her speak.
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s photographs explore the ‘terrible beauty of Durham’s coal-scarred coastline. The wreckage of the mining industry that defined a culture and shaped its communities lies strewn across its beaches, discarded ‘memorabilia’ erupting from the plateaux of colliery waste.
East Durham is being tidied up, re-landscaped and designed for new pursuits, erasing the memory of coal. These extraordinary images capture a moment in time; the fossils of a deposed industry; a heritage trail of sorrow and wonder.
The photographs, taken between 1999 and 2002, represent Sirkka’s first move into colour, something she felt was demanded by the alarming vividness of the subject. Now, 15 years later, in celebration of Gallery’s 40th anniversary, Side will be revisiting the Coal Coast. It includes an audio visual installation, the result of a cross cultural, international, collaboration, between Amber/Side, creative producers Forma Arts, New York based sound artists, Sō Percussion and ex-miner Freddie Welsh. Completed in 2016, it combines Sō Percussion’s response to Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s ‘Coal Coast’ and Freddie Welsh’s personal testimony of the death of a young miner at Easington pit in the 90s.
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Body of Work: The Coal Coast
Artist: Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Title: The Coal Coast
Castle Eden, afternoon 22 June 2000. Raised plateau of pit waste; pools of water laden with iron oxides with rims of iron sulphate; boulders stained by iron oxide. © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen