Dark side of Saddleworth explored in provoking new exhibition

BRITISH multi-media artist Seamus Killick’s first solo exhibition opens at the Weavers Factory in Uppermill on Saturday, May 6 and it is set to ruffle a few feathers.

Killick’s new show focuses on the dark side of Saddleworth’s history. And be warned – it’s not an exhibition for the faint-hearted.

Weavers Factory curator Julian Bovis explained: “Seamus had been working as an installation artist in Leipzig for a few years.

Explore the dark side of Saddleworth this month at The Weavers Factory

“Leipzig is a hot bed of European conceptual art and he’d produced some really ground-breaking work there.

“So, when we met in Manchester in 2017 I was delighted he offered to do his first solo show with us. It was early days and a real leap of faith for Seamus to come on board.

“He never explains his artwork or his process and that’s really exciting for me.

“I know his new work explores the darker side of Saddleworth but anything else is up for interpretation.

“It’s a very different exhibition to our first one. Our inaugural show concentrated on our patron Joan Charnley’s life and was sentimental and moving.

“Seamus’s new show is moving too but in a very different way.

“You will be able to see a few of his paintings but it’s more of a conceptual exhibition.

“Seamus uses 3D sculpture and model-making to create his unique installations. There’s nothing literal about the show and even myself as a curator find it challenging to interpret the depths of his work.

“Some people will love it and some will hate it. Seamus’s work can come across as confusing and disturbing but I think there’s a real beauty in what he’s created.

“People are used to traditional paintings of Saddleworth but this new show is the exact opposite.

Seamus Killick

“When I look at the work I see the Victorian Cotton Doffers he’s created as a symbol of child exploitation.

“Children were forced to work 12-hours a day, six days a week in the Industrial Revolution and it was a tough time to be alive.

“But child exploitation is not consigned to history. It’s happening right now and we just don’t see it. Or we choose not to.

“A couple of the works in the exhibition are about the Saddleworth fires. Seamus made them last year after he witnessed the 2018 fire at Dovestone.

“So, when the fires returned last week we had a long conversation about whether we should go ahead with that part of the exhibition.

“It’s a difficult subject and people are understandably upset but art can be an opportunity to explore your feelings so we made the decision to go ahead.

“Hopefully, if people come and see the show they’ll take something away with them about the cruel lives we used to live, the carefree ones we live now and the repercussions both can have for future generations.

The Cotton Doffer Reclamation 2069 by Seamus Killick runs from May 6 to May 28 at the Weavers Factory in Uppermill. Find out more online: www.weaversfactory.co.uk

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