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Public art

Eleven new artist commissions are coming to Middlesbrough, focusing on a range of subjects including our town’s landmarks, history, and culture.

The project has been delivered by Navigator North – a local artist-led organisation – in partnership with Middlesbrough Council, using Arts Council funding.

Endless Convenience by Andrew McKeown

Endless Convenience is a series of sculptures inspired by shapes and forms found in throwaway plastic lunch containers.

The column shapes are created from casts taken from supermarket convenience food packaging. Stacked on top of each other, the individual pieces create columns of various sizes and shapes. The components of each column have been cast using recycled rubber crumb (recycled car tyres) and recycled glass granules.

The concept is intended as a comment on society’s reliance on convenience food in plastic packaging, and how food on the go in our throwaway culture creates endless plastic waste. It’s hoped that this sculptural intervention will make people think about the plastic waste they’re creating before they grab their next convenience lunch, and also highlight society’s reliance on single-use plastics.

The sculptures reference the work of 20th Century artist Constantin Brancusi who created the Endless Column as part of his Sculptural Ensemble at Târgu Jiu. They also refer to industrial mass production, repetitive mould making, and casting, something which Teesside is famous for through its iron and steel heritage, foundries, and steel mills.

As part of the project, Andrew worked with Year 5 children from Lingfield Primary School in Marton, who created their own smaller plaster versions of the Endless Convenience sculptures using plastic containers they had collected.

About the artist

Andrew McKeown has completed many art commissions throughout the UK and internationally for local councils, property developers, and environmental organisations. Recurring themes within his work are those of growth, change, and renewal, reflecting life, ecology, health, regeneration, and industry.

Sculptures by Andrew McKeown which look like towers of polystyrene cartons from a takeaway

Endless Convenience by Andrew McKeown

Broadcasting House Reimagined and Car Park Stairway by Emma Bennett

Broadcasting House Reimagined

Broadcasting House Reimagined is a painting which responds to the architecture of the Middlesbrough building, Broadcasting House. The painting reflects the actual outline of the building, then by using vibrant colour combinations and patterns, the artist has reimagined the exterior to signify the building’s uniqueness and beauty.

Broadcasting House was purpose-built for the then-BBC Radio Cleveland (now BBC Tees) in 1974. BBC Tees still broadcasts from the building today. Since 2009, the artist’s studio has been located close by, giving her an opportunity to examine and explore the exterior space within her paintings.

Find the artwork: Brentnall Buildings, Brentnall Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 5AP

Artwork by Emma Bennett showing a colourful and stylised impression of Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House Reimagined by Emma Bennett

Car Park Stairway

Car Park Stairway is a painting that references the external concrete stairway that leads to the Cleveland Centre rooftop car park in Middlesbrough. The painting’s strong composition mirrors the actual structure of the stairway, and the artist has then added a selection of bold colours and patterns to create a dynamic image. The Cleveland Centre was built in 1971 and is Middlesbrough’s largest shopping centre. The artist became familiar with the stairway when passing the structure regularly on her way to and from her studio whilst studying and working on various projects at Teesside University. Similar concrete stairways are a frequent architectural feature in brutalist buildings seen in many towns and cities.

Find the artwork: The Cleveland Centre, Grange Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 2LS

Car Park Stairway by Emma Bennett

About the artist

Middlesbrough-based artist Emma Bennett produces bold minimalist paintings which reflect the design of Modernist and post-war architecture. By using colour and pattern in conjunction with her personal connections to place, she examines our localised social histories.

Many of her paintings reference a nostalgic attachment to places and structures that are often overlooked, neglected, or under threat of demolition. While growing up on a post-war council estate in the northern town of Redcar, Emma developed an attraction to the materials and surroundings of her environment. Many of the modernist and post-war buildings from her childhood have since been demolished and others are in the process of vanishing. Her work declares the architectural beauty and social importance of these places, buildings that are part of our collective memory. She uses photography as a key part of her process, which develops through a set of decisions about the relationships between colour and form.

In Loving Memory by Oliver Bragg

‘In Loving Memory’ is a series of engraved brass plaques by artist Oliver Bragg, fixed onto benches throughout Middlesbrough’s Albert Park.

The plaques have been inspired by tales of local legends and anecdotes, and fabricated to mimic those that often adorn benches to memorialise or pay homage to a specific person. Some are optimistic for a better future, others long for a forgotten past. Some are more fantastical, and others are more direct and perturbing or prescient. Many rely on humour as a way of communicating an idea, and the project focuses on the everyman, the natural environment, and memories to place and memory itself.

Find the artwork: Albert Park, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 3LB

About the artist

Oliver Bragg’s multimedia practice encompasses an array of forms, design, and sculpture, as well as lecture and performance. He maps an askew view of the world that teeters between the banal and fantastic, reality and fiction and the natural and manmade. Bragg has exhibited throughout the UK and internationally. He was awarded the ARTE/Cutlog Prize, France in 2012 for the originality and pertinence of work, evolution potential, and the coherence of creation.

He studied at Wimbledon College of Art and took part in the major travel and exhibitions residency Holiday organised by Gasworks (London), Triangle France (Marseille), and CAC (Vilnius).

Oliver Bragg's artwork showing a memorial plaque attached to a bench

In Loving Memory by Oliver Bragg

Boro Through Time by Sofia Barton

Boro Through Time explores Middlesbrough’s rich culture and heritage, using designs inspired by Victorian matchboxes. Themes illustrated include the match boxes of Erimus (remembering the motto of the town), Orange Pip Market (community), the bathhouses (Victorian luxury), football (Middlesbrough FC), and of course the toy shop that everyone remembers.

The works draw on collective nostalgic memories to celebrate what makes the town shine.

Find the artwork: Wilson Street/Linthorpe Road, town centre, Middlesbrough

About the artist

Sofia Barton is a Punjabi multidisciplinary artist from Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work is influenced by the history of place and vintage packaging, in particular retro postcards, railway posters, and Victorian matchboxes. Merging these with more contemporary imagery allows Sofia to reflect on a more modern society.

Artwork by Sofia Barton showing colourful images of Middlesbrough drawn on matchstick boxes

Boro Through Time by Sofia Barton

Transmit, Transform, Translate by Stephen Hurrell

Transmit, Transform, Translate is a light and sound installation for five redundant, yet iconic, telephone boxes located beside Middlesbrough Town Hall.

These phone boxes have become signifiers of a transition, or leap, from an analogue world to a digital world. Resonant of a past age, these physical objects become triggers of memories for an older generation and perhaps objects of curiosity for a younger generation. Once full of life and sound, they now sit dark and silent.

The artist has reactivated them for the dark winter months with colour, light, sound, and movement.

Find the artwork: Corporation Road/Dunning Street Corner, town centre (between Middlesbrough Town Hall and Middlesbrough Empire), Middlesbrough

About the artist

Stephen works across a range of media including video, sound, sculpture, text, light and photography. He weaves together narratives, media and materials and looks for the poetic within the everyday. His work takes the form of site-specific installations, context-based projects and gallery installations, as well as short films and editioned prints. Recent projects have focused on coastal environments, ecologies and processes, often working collaboratively with other professionals.

His work has been shown widely in the UK and abroad including the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Colombo Biennale, Sri Lanka, Group exhibition at Venice Biennale 2019, MOSI, Manchester, Soundwave ((5)) San Francisco, Walk & Talk, Azores, Portugal, Latrobe Gallery, Australia, and CCA and GI Festival, Glasgow, and he has several permanent public artworks in the UK and Ireland.

Transmit, Transform, Translate by Stephen Hurrell

Beating Heart Middlesbrough by Stuart Langley

Beating Heart Middlesbrough is a large-scale light installation which uses Church House as a canvas to project a captivating and timely message of positivity to the people of Tees Valley and beyond.

The fourth in a series of artworks (following Leeds, Manchester, and London) by Stuart to magically alter the cityscape and capture the hearts of thousands, this particular heart is destined to be engraved in our collective memories for years to come.

Find the artwork: Church House, Grange Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 2LR

About the artist

Stuart designs, creates, imagines, and lights things to punctuate the boredom and anxiety-inducing nature of the day. He uses existing architectural infrastructures to create living artworks and seeks to marry function with feeling, encouraging viewers to look beyond the prescribed purpose of spaces, people, and things, to imagine a more fluid and exciting future.

Stuart Langley's artwork of a heart lighting up the side of Church House

Beating Heart Middlesbrough by Stuart Langley

Time Management by Colin Priest

London based artist, Colin Priest has designed 100 deckchairs emblazoned with a design depicting a ‘printed’ cascade of numbers from Middlesbrough Town Hall clock.

Find the artwork: the deckchairs will be used at events throughout the town, so keep an eye out for them!

Deckchairs by Colin Priest decorated with images of the numbers from the Town Hall clock

Time Management by Colin Priest

After Warsama by Dominic from Luton

After Warsama takes the legacy of Abdillahi Warsama, the legendary local owner of Bongo Club International, as its celebratory starting point.

Warsama was a Somalian immigrant who was once refused entry to a nightclub in London due to the colour of his skin. In the 1960s, he found solace, a home, new friends and a new life in Middlesbrough. With the creation of the extraordinary Bongo Club International, Warsama created a new scene, inspiring a series of countercultures and a destination point, excelling as an invitation to all people of all races, much like the location of the club which is situated in a part of the town known affectionately as ‘over the border’. The font for ‘I Miss You’ is also identical to that of the Bongo Club, its shades of blue symbiotic to the nightclub itself.

After Warsama pays tribute to the club, remembers Abdillahi but essentially reaches out to anyone, as a universal message. The work invites you to consider absence, loved ones past and present and to pause, momentarily, to reflect within ourselves.

Painted by Liz Collier and Russ Walker.

Find the artwork: outside The Auxiliary, 31 Station Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 1SR

Dominic Allen's mural saying 'I miss you'

After Warsama by Dominic from Luton

Around 3.35pm by S. Mark Gubb

Around 3.35pm takes as its key reference ‘The Middlesbrough Meteorite’. On March 14, 1881, around 3.35pm, workers on the ‘Pennyman’s Railway Siding’ (now Roseberry Park) heard a rushing sound, followed by a thud. Further investigation revealed a meteorite had crashed to the ground. It was dated to around 4.5 billion years old, meaning it was formed at the same time as the Earth.

Mark has placed a neon interpretation of this event on top of the Dorman Museum, guiding people to the museum, where they can see a replica of the meteorite.

Find the artwork: Dorman Museum, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS5 6LA

Meteor by S. Mark Gubb

Midday Over Middlesbrough by Colin Priest

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