Local and international artists exhibit at three-day Clitheroe art fair

At the height of The Troubles in Belfast, the clattering roar of dustbin lids on pavements was known as rough music as hundreds of women took to the streets to alert the republican community that British Army troops were approaching.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 8:00 am
Lance Corporal Stanley Holman on patrol in Belfast, the son of artist Jamie Holman.

Partly Inspired by the film 1971, the story of a young English soldier’s experience as Belfast erupted into violence, and filmed partly in Blackburn, local artist Jamie Holman has used his father’s photographic archives of Belfast to explore the similarities in landscape and the working class communities of Belfast and Blackburn.

Jamie’s father was serving with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets when he was wounded on foot patrol in Belfast and Holman’s outstanding work Fallswater Drive – Openshaw Drive features a collection of metal bin lids which share titles with streets, both in Belfast and Blackburn.

On the first street, banging a lid on the ground, signified impending violence, and on the other, it’s just a bin lid you would find in any back yard.

Local artist Jamie Holman's dustbin lids.

Holman, the Head of Fine Arts at Blackburn College, has since seen his work exhibited at the Royal College of Art and published in the Saatchi Gallery magazine.

Now Holman’s exhibits will provide one of the major highlights at the inaugural Atlantic Art Fair, helping celebrate The Grand Theatre’s 10th anniversary from March 27th to 29th.

Former Pendle art teacher Graeme Windle is the driving force behind Atlantic Contemporary Art, combining his passion for art with his expert knowledge of the industry.

Graeme’s goal is to establish the Ribble Valley as a destination for quality contemporary art, and, most of all, to encourage young people to enter the art world.

Ken Dodd painted by Colne artist Andrew Ratcliffe.

“I’m passionate about introducing art to a new generation,” said Graeme, whose company Atlantic Contemporary Art is staging the exhibition.

“London is at the heart of the art world, it is where it all happens, but my vision is to try and bring that art movement to the Ribble Valley.

“It can be done – there is some brilliant talent in the county, truly inspiring people like Jamie Holman, and they have work in museums, private collections and the National Portrait Gallery.”

Several artists from America will be in attendance and other notable luminaries with work on show at the three-day event at the Grand include Andrew Ratcliffe from Colne and Darwen-based Lee Smillie.

Local artist Jamie Holman's dustbin lids.

Ratcliffe is a figurative painter, and was commissioned by both Prince Charles and former Labour leader Neil Kinnock to draw portraits for their private collections.

Glaswegian Smillie, an urban landscape photographer, lived on the tough as teak Easterhouse estate in the city’s East End, which became synonymous with gang violence and tribalism.

Graeme added: “You see Lee, and he is a pretty scary character, covered in tattoos, but he has soft Scottish accent, is a real family man and a brilliant photographer.”

On the closing day of the exhibition next Thursday there will be a question and answer session with all the artists when people can come along and meet them.

Ken Dodd painted by Colne artist Andrew Ratcliffe.

“Also, most of the art on show will also be available to buy, many at affordable prices, so we can offer a free consultation and curation service to people if they are thinking of buying that piece of art for their home," said Graeme.

"The Atlantic Art Fair is an incredible opportunity for the public to see an exhibition of artists’ work."

The Atlantic Art Fair, Grand Theatre, Clitheroe, March 27th to 29th. To book and for further details call 01200 421599 or visit: www.thegrandvenue.co.uk