New Leigh art show is based on coal

An image from the massive video installation Song For Coal by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, which is being shown at The Turnpike
An image from the massive video installation Song For Coal by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, which is being shown at The Turnpike

The black stuff which once powered much of Leigh’s economy takes centre stage at an unusual new art exhibition in the town.

The Turnpike is staging In The Family of the Carbons, a new show by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson based on coal.

A figurine made from cannel coal mined from an open cast quarry close to the borough

A figurine made from cannel coal mined from an open cast quarry close to the borough

The exhibition looks at the impact of the mining industry on the collieries in Leigh and across the country as well as providing a more poetic and abstract response to the fuel which has played such a major role throughout history.

The artists put Leigh into the exhibition with a series of figures carved out of cannel coal mined from the nearby Alexandra open cast colliery.

A monumental video installation, Song for Coal, has also been put up in The Turnpike tracing the use of coal in human societies.

Based on a rose window at a chapel in Paris, the video shows 152 panels each hosting a film reflecting on some aspect of the material.

Crowe and Rawlinson have also produced a sung piece in association with Opera North based on a coal catechism from the late 19th century and brought to Leigh The Host, a series of abstract photographs.

A spokesman for The Turnpike said: “The exhibition offers a poetic and historical response to an industry, which still figures large in the cultural memory of this region, looking at human-induced climate change and exploring apocalyptic fears.”

In The Family of the Carbons is on now at The Turnpike and runs until March 3. To find out more visit The Turnpike's website