Industry News

Delve into history at The Auckland Project

Publication Date: 23rd Feb 2023

The Auckland Project’s attractions reopen this week, offering visitors the opportunity to delve into the fascinating and often surprising history of Bishop Auckland.

Visitors can look forward to a varied programme of events throughout the year, including exhibitions in the Mining Art Gallery Auckland Castle and Gardens, and the Spanish Gallery.

The Mining Art Gallery reopens with an exhibition celebrating the renowned Gemini Collection of mining art. Coal: Mining the Gemini Collection features favourites from the collection as well as works of art that have not been displayed in the Mining Art Gallery before, and includes artworks by four female artists: Marjorie Arnfield, Janet Buckle, Tisa Hess and Gill Holloway.

Collected by Dr Robert McManners OBE and Gillian Wales, the Gemini Collection was originally gifted to the Mining Art Gallery in 2017 and featured 424 works. Since then, the Gemini Collection has been enhanced and expanded to include over 460 works and continues to grow.

The thought-provoking artworks in the collection document coal miners’ lives above and below ground, revealing how mining artists use art as a powerful means of expression and illustrating the industry’s impact on the landscape and loved ones.

Dr Robert McManners and Gillian Wales, founders of the Gemini Collection, said: “"Art which is deeply rooted in experience becomes truly great art, and this is certainly true of Mining Art. We would encourage anyone visiting our latest exhibition in the Mining Art Gallery to think about the artist behind each artwork. Mining Art has a language of its own, and by asking questions of the artist we hope our visitors will be able to learn this language, understand the narrative and feel the raw emotions which inspired such great works of art."

Auckland Castle’s exhibition programme begins with Missing Women from 8 March – 28 May, an innovative exhibition inspired by the 13 biblical portraits of Jacob and his twelve sons by Francisco de Zurbarán in Auckland Castle. The five women in their lives go unrecorded. Led by Creative Youth opportunities in partnership with The Auckland Project and Bishop Auckland Town Hall, this exhibition seeks to give these women a voice and create a platform for self-expression.

The Spanish Gallery will bring its collections to life with a new series of Highlight Tours exploring Art in Golden Age Spain. The tours will be delivered by doctoral students from the Zurbarán Centre at Durham University every Wednesday at 11.30am and 1.30pm and are free with a valid Spanish Gallery ticket.

Meanwhile, Auckland Castle’s exhibition programme continues in June with Sin: Exhibition organised by the National Gallery, London with The Auckland Project. On display from 17 June – 1 October, this exhibition explores the concept of sin in art in a truly unique presentation. The exhibition includes eight exceptional paintings from the National Gallery’s collection as well as works on loan by Tracey Emin and Ron Mueck.

The Auckland Project’s attractions are open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30am – 4pm, from 22 February – 31 December.