Metro Fleet Art

Alongside three other amazing artists I have won a unique commission to create major works for the interior of the Tyne and Wear Metro’s £362m new train fleet.

Metro will be the first urban transit system in the world to feature permanent art inside trains when the new fleet enters service next year, thanks to a project led by operator Nexus and funded by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme.

Four artists have been chosen following an open call for submissions, and each one will go on to create a major new work to cover the full height and width of carriage end walls, right through the fleet of 46 trains being built for Metro by global train manufacturer Stadler.

Nexus is sharing a video introducing the artists and exploring more about the project which you can view here:

Nexus received more than 120 submissions from around the world, in response to an open call for artists to respond to the theme of ‘place’ in North East England. The final four artists were chosen by a panel bringing Nexus employees from train operations and the fleet project with community arts professionals from the region. 

The four works the Metro artists create will be reproduced onto the train walls by Stadler as part of the manufacturing process at its factory in St Margrethen, Switzerland.   The first new Metro train is set to arrive in North East England at the end of this year and will enter service in autumn 2023 after rigorous testing.

Nexus has ordered 46 trains from Stadler which will transform reliability and the customer experience, cut Metro’s use of high voltage power by at least 30% and allow a higher frequency service across the system.

Two works of art will appear on each train, at each end of the open-plan layout of carriages, with each work appearing 23 times across the whole fleet as a result.

I’m really looking forwards to the final design and have been researching key figures of the North East’s rich history to document on the illustration.

The commissioned artists from left to right:
Sofia Barton, Sarah Gibbeson, Hazel Oakes AKA Nocciola the Drawer, and Bryony Simcox

Lindisfarne Art Trail Map – World Heritage Day

Monday 18th April is World Heritage Day! To celebrate it, I was commissioned to create an art pack by Durham Cathedral and Durham University Library and Heritage Collections based around the Lindisfarne Gospels.

I also designed a map for the Lindisfarne Art Trail. Using the pack I designed, eight schools across Durham will be designing their own unique letter which will be displayed at eight different locations along the trail map.

The map has locations for parking, toilets and various footpaths for pedestrians only. The eight locations include (starting from Framwellgate Bridge) Cafe Ravika, Moon Jewellry, Bell’s Fish and Chips, Mugwump, The Circle Vintage, The Kemble Gallery & Art Shop, Owengate House, and Palace Green. As landmarks there are illustrations of Palace Green and Durham Cathedral.

The full map will be available at the trail launch, later this month.

More information on World Heritage Day:

In 1982, UNESCO’s General Conference established 18th April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, in many countries also celebrated as World Heritage Day. The day is promoted by ICOMOS globally.

The history of a place can involve many points of view. The conservation of cultural heritage requires careful examination of the past, and its practice demands provision for the future.

The World Heritage Convention (1972) states: “deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world”. However, imbalances in recognition, interpretation and ultimately, conservation of various cultural manifestations continue to exist.

Together with ICOMOS, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre supports inclusive and diverse points of view in heritage identification, conservation and transmission to future generations.

Acknowledging global calls for greater inclusion and recognition of diversity, this Day invites all of us to reflect on, interpret and review existing narratives.



Links
https://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/
https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/library/

Producing Place Artist in Residence

Pleased to announce I’ll be the first Producing Place Artist in Residence for Monkfish Productions. 📣

The residency explores the area around the Victorian bandstand in Saltwell Park in the communities that live and visit there. Through community workshops, which will be open to key groups and the public.

I drew this little illustration of the bandstand after a visit last week. I used to live in Bensham (near Saltwell Park) a few years ago and was a frequent visitor. It is interesting to think about how many people pass, take shelter and sit under this bandstand. The collective stories and experiences around this landmark would be fascinating to learn about.

My idea for the bandstand is like the illustration, getting individuals and groups to draw or write about their experiences in the area and create a vine that wraps itself around the bandstand. Reflective of the wild life around it. A symbol perhaps of how people have used the park during lockdown, and how the perceptions of parks has grown more important with the need for outdoor space.

I’ll be updating the blog as I go along in the project, doing lots of workshops and of course displaying the artwork on the bandstand itself at the end.

Here is a link to Monkfish Productions CIO and information on the brilliant work they’re doing http://www.monkfishproductions.org/

Unfortunately the projects on a little break at the moment, but will resume in July 2022 with a weekend of wonderful workshops to create the beautiful creates and vines around the bandstand.

Art Matters Now – Home Away From Home

I was commissioned by Art Matters Now to create artwork around the theme of migration. I explored the many ways of transport immigrants can take, the landmarks of Sunderland and the hopes and dreams people have. Adding the flower of the area in blooming across hands reaching out for one another.

Reflected on my own history as a child constantly translating, dealing with racism and finding my own way to communicate through art.

You can read the description of the artwork below from https://artmattersnow.org.uk/home-away-from-home/

‘The idea for the ‘Home Away from Home’ publication project emerged from my experiences navigating a new identity as an immigrant in the UK. They were formed against a backdrop of a global pandemic: worsening xenophobia, little real-life contact and the further marginalisation of minoritised people. In these testing and precarious times, I am eager to create a collaborative platform for artists and writers from a minority ethnic or diasporic background—like myself—to connect with each other and communicate through creative expression. I hope that this can be a place where we can define the terms in which we wish to be seen and heard.

I was fortunate to be awarded Sunderland Culture’s 2021 Creative Development Fellowship, which enabled me to commission work from artists and writers as part of this publication. The project has evolved over time and now manifests in two forms: a physical publication and a digital VR exhibition that both presents and extends the ideas through multimedia works.

The first edition of ‘Home Away from Home’ looks into the fluid notion of ‘home’ and narratives surrounding it—from frustrations to contentment, shared vulnerabilities to collective hopes. The publication brings together artworks and texts by five contributors who have made Britain their home. These individuals are Claudia Obag, Dovile Lapinskaite, Marga RH, Sofia Barton and myself.
Readers are invited to reflect on how the ideas raised might relate to their own experiences of belonging and their sense of home. Is ‘home’ defined by a location? Or is it defined by people? Is having a home a right? Or is it a privilege?

— Christie Chan’

Unite – Sofia Barton

NE1 Christmas Window

NE1 have had a great selection of Christmas Windows across Newcastle for 2021. Delighted to have been able to design this one for Northern Pride for the occasion.

View it at Groat Market in Newcastle upon Tyne where the old Evening Chronicle buildings are located. If you take a selfie be sure to hashtag #wearenorthernpride

Merry Christmas everyone!

Photo of a selection of NE1 Christmas windows at Old Evening Chronicle Buildings, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne
Close up of The Northern Pride Christmas Window designed by Sofia Barton

Many thanks to Northern Pride for commissioning me and NE1 for all the Christmas windows across the city spreading cheer 🎄🏳️‍🌈