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The Crack Magazine

auckland project Barrie Ormsby, Miners' Strike 1984, 1980's, watercolour on paper. (C) Barrie Ormsby.jpg

A Striking Piece

The Auckland Project’s Mining Art Gallery is, of course, covering the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, and part of their programme includes a new exhibition titled ‘The Last Cage Down’.

Watercolour paintings are often unfairly maligned as the work of “Sunday painters” who produce “nice scenes” featuring a surfeit of rolling hills. There’s a few rolling hills in Barrie Ormsby’s ‘Miners’ Strike 1984’ (pictured), and, indeed, it looks like a gorgeous day as many of the miners in his painting have dispensed with their tops. But they’re all being watched over by a police force who look less dressed for summer and more dressed for war. And it’s just one of the many fascinating and illuminating paintings that you can see at the excellent Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland over the coming months. Laura Roberts, The Auckland Project’s public programming manager: “The mining industry is a significant part of the north-east’s history, which has impacted the majority of families across the area. It’s crucial to honour the community’s memories in its anniversary year.”

The Last Cage Down, 3 May-6 October, The Mining Gallery, Bishop Auckland,