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Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sights and Sounds of water

The theme of this year's Hebden Bridge Arts Festival is Water and local poet Winston Plowes is one of the artists taking inspiration from the town's waterside setting, a confluence of rivers and canal.

Tube map

After the 2012 floods poet and narrowboater Plowes reimagined the town's network of watery veins as a stylised tube map (see above), and he will also be launching his latest collection of poems - in conjunction with the Origami Poetry Project - that will be available from Hebden Bridge Town Hall during the festival.

Annie Coxey is an abstract painter who has lived in Hebden Bridge, but now works in Cumbria. After the Boxing Day floods of 2015 that devastated Kendal and Hebden Bridge, Annie spent time looking at the changes in the landscape and produced many sketches and photographs based on these changes and the debris swept down the river. Her abstract paintings are a culmination of these studies and will be on show in the Town Hall and the Tourist Information Centre gallery from June 10.

Ruth Levene

Ruth Levene (pictured above) will be showing a series of works in the Town Hall exhibition space and basement she made during a residency with Pennine Water Group, based in Civil Engineering at The University of Sheffield.

On display in the Town Hall entrance will be Hidden Waters, a series of digital prints and etchings mapping the river networks and buried water and sewage infrastructure in the UK. Below in the basement, alongside the fading flood marks, is Our Waters, a video work that reflects on the state of our urban water infrastructure system and the water that makes Hebden Bridge so distinctive and vulnerable.

Green WomanIn the Town Hall courtyard you can find Green Woman (pictured right), which is a new sculpture by Richard Sharples inspired by a willow tree growing on the hills above Hebden Bridge, and where the piece eventually be sited. The sculpture alludes to the Greek myth of Daphne who, in order to escape the advances of Apollo, was transformed into a tree by her father. Also at the Town Hall,relax in the map chair and listen to local residents and businesspeople talking about their experiences of the Boxing Day floods 18 months on.

Hebden Water is a collaboration between artist Trudi Entwistle and sound recordist Paul Ratcliff. The soundscape and photographic narrative they created will be presented at Gibson Mill from June 23, an audiovisual installation taking people on a journey along the watercourse from the valley bottom to a high point in the surrounding moors.

Local artist Rachel Red is hosting free a drop-in family workshop in the Northlight Arts Centre on July 1 and 2 exploring water in all its many forms through simple print and mixed media.

Gurgle SplosherFans of the offbeat Look out for the Gurgle-Splosher designed as a playful interactive sound sculpture model of the water cycle that will be making its way round town on Sunday July 2 as part of the Street Sunday show. The Gurgle-Splosher was built by Noisy Toys' Stephen Summers as Mytholmroyd's contribution to Landlines and Watermarks.

From the 'cloud' reservoir at the top of the Gurgle-splosher, water flows through several routes to the 'sea' reservoir at the bottom, as determined by the actions of the visitors, turning taps, pulling levers and blowing into bubble hoses.

Arts Festival Artistic Director Helen Meller said, "Ironically we'd chosen the theme of water before the Boxing Day floods as it has powered and shaped the fortunes of the valley for centuries. Being able to offer artists and groups the chance to express their feelings about water in a range of different ways has been both cathartic and very creative.'

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