Headlands To Headspace Sculptures Make their Mark On The Bay

Headlands To Headspace Sculptures Make their Mark On The Bay

There’s no stretch of coastline like that of Morecambe Bay anywhere else in the UK, yet putting a finger on precisely the one thing that makes it so special seems impossible. Is it the light, the abundant wildlife, the stunning views or its deep history? It’s all of those things and more. Artists commissioned by Morecambe Bay Partnership to encapsulate the magic of the area have been challenged and blessed by the abundance of inspiration, whether the diverse natural history, the communities that are lucky enough to call the Bay home or the region’s rich social heritage.

Two artists have made their mark on the Morecambe Bay landscape in the most inspiring ways, with internationally-acclaimed, environmental artist, Chris Drury siting a walk-in, stone-built Horizon Line Chamber at Sunderland Point and celebrated sculptor, Anna Gillespie casting her thoughts towards the sea with SHIP at Half Moon Bay. Both major, permanent new artworks respond to aspects of life in the region, both now and in times past, with their sites specially chosen to enhance experience at each location.

Drury’s hand-built stone chamber becomes a camera obscura when, as visitors take a seat inside, a lens installed into the sea-facing wall projects an inverted image of the coastal scene outside. The fifteenth example of one of Drury’s ‘cloud chambers’ around the world, the building offers peaceful shelter amidst Sunderland Point’s dramatic, ever-changing landscape. 

Looking simultaneously out to sea and back towards land, the extremes of return and departure and the past and the future, Gillespie’s SHIP has found long-term haven at Half Moon Bay, in sight of passenger ferries leaving Heysham for Ireland. The striking steel sculpture sees two figures take to opposing bows of the vessel, gazing into opposing directions, offering an evocative point of reflection for passers-by. Both permanent installations follow the hugely popular, ‘field of mirrors’ temporary installation, ‘Settlement’, by Scottish artist, Rob Mulholland which appeared on The Barrows at Heysham last autumn.

Since summer 2018 the National Lottery Heritage Funded Headlands to Headspace commissions have seen other artists working in the area in the performing arts too. The unforgettable, early-evening twilight dance performances of Longways / Crosswise, by choreographers, Jenny Reeves and Ellen Jeffrey at Silverdale and storyteller, Emily Hennessey’s evocative walks have formed part of a wide-ranging, cultural programme that’s been as hard to describe in words as Morecambe Bay itself.