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New ways of seeing Pennine Lancashire revealed by Contemporary Heritage visual arts programme

  • Date: 19 January 2011
  • Area: North
Photo of a public art piece, set in a park, with a wooden four-poster bed erected around a tree, with the tree growing through the middle of the bed

Not Forgotten by Geraldine Pilgrim, Contemporary Heritage, Towneley Hall and Park 2010-11, Mid Pennine Arts. Credit: Sheila Burnett

An ambitious programme of specially commissioned site specific work by internationally acclaimed artists to rural areas in the Pennine area of Lancashire will be showing some of the region's most beautiful heritage sites in unexpected and fascinating new ways.

Not Forgotten, a new installation, by Geraldine Pilgrim opened in September 2010 at Burnley's Towneley Hall and Park as the inaugural work in Contemporary Heritage, a Mid Pennine Arts partnership programme.

Contemporary Heritage offers a rare chance to experience major works of art outside a city environment by artists of national and international standing, who will be commissioned to create pieces that respond to Pennine Lancashire's heritage sites, awaking and capturing the stories of some of the region's most intriguing areas.

Not Forgotten was inspired by a distinctive portrait from 1601 of early residents of the Hall, John and Mary Towneley and their seven sons and seven daughters. The work, elements of which are presented in the Hall and its grounds, aims to enable people to see Towneley in new ways and cast a light on the lives of those who lived in this former family home.

The three-dimensional family tree and the lavender and rosemary memory cots that form the installation represent living memorials to each child and present a compelling meditation on remembrance and loss.

Geraldine Pilgrim is a highly acclaimed artist recognised for her extensive experience in creating site-responsive installations in heritage venues, including large scale commissions for both English Heritage and the National Trust.

The Contemporary Heritage partnership project has been developed by Mid Pennine Arts with five current partner venues: Towneley Hall and Park, Clitheroe Castle Museum and Park, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Gawthorpe Hall, and Turton Tower.

Mid Pennine Arts works to bring art, people and places together to transform perceptions and change lives.

Not Forgotten will be in place until September 2011. The second installation in the Contemporary Heritage programme is planned for Clitheroe Castle Museum and Park, opening in June 2011, and the third installation will be at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in 2012.

Geraldine Pilgrim said: 'Not Forgotten was inspired by my first visit to Towneley when on a tour of the Hall I saw the 1601 family portrait of John and Mary Towneley and their 14 children, seven boys and seven girls and was told the painting was of their children as if they had all survived to adulthood. I was profoundly moved by this image that recognised the fragility of life in that period and wanted to create a memorial to the Towneley family, a living installation that changed and developed over a period of time.

'I realised that the Hall and Park are much loved by the local community and wanted to create an artwork that belongs to the people of Burnley and would capture visitors' imaginations acknowledging that this magnificent building was once a family home which  experienced like any family loss, sadness, love and joy.'

For more information about Contemporary Heritage and to view a short video about the project visit the Mid Pennine Arts website