11 October 2016

rises from the waves, to mark a historic journey through the Red Rose county

On Wednesday 19 October, the second in a new series of pop-up artworks by environmental artist Steve Messam, rises from the waves of the Leeds & Liverpool canal at Eanam Wharf in Blackburn.

Steve Messam’s When the Red Rose quartet of temporary art installations, takes the historic symbol of Lancashire and by a twist of language transforms it into something new and surprising, just as the pieces themselves give familiar, sometimes overlooked spaces, a new burst of colour, energy and interest.

When the Red Rose in Blackburn is a vast, red, ‘welcome’ for the arrival of a flotilla of boats led by the restored Kennet short boat; marking the 200th anniversary, to the day, of the opening of this stretch of the Leeds & Liverpool canal – the longest canal in Britain. Steve’s glowing, warm-hearted installation reflects the pride and optimism that the canal brought to Blackburn 200 years ago and which is a driving force behind the town’s creative and manufacturing renewal.

The bicentenary celebration flotilla will arrive at Eanam Wharf and be greeted by dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenants of Lancashire and West Yorkshire as well as mayors from across the North West.  They will be joined by the National Children’s Orchestra, the Duke of Lancaster regiment and local schoolchildren dressed in red and white.

The celebrations that start at 2.30pm, have been organised by The Eanam Wharf Experience Trust, a partnership between businessman Graham Vernon and Blackburn with Darwen Council, set up to turn Eanam Wharf into a visitor’s attraction.

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive member for Regeneration, said: “When The Red Rose is going to look spectacular and I urge people to come down and see this once in a life time event.

“This will be a historic day for Blackburn and I think it’s only fitting that we have something symbolic like this to remember what an important role the canal played in the growth of our borough and in the history of Lancashire.”

Laurie Peake, Director of Super Slow Way
“When the Red Rose is such a fitting tribute to the recreation of the Kennet’s inaugural voyage. As the Yorkshire trip has been marked by the greetings of the White Rosettes, Steve Messam has created a truly special Lancashire welcome and a spectacular celebration of our great waterway’s bicentenary.”

Super Slow Way is an ambitious arts commissioning programme in Pennine Lancashire and is part of the Arts Council Creative People and Places programme. Looking to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for inspiration, it aims to spark a creative revolution where two hundred years ago the waterway fueled the Industrial Revolution. It works with communities along the canal to connect them with artists, their environment and each other.

When The Red Rose was commissioned by Marketing Lancashire as part of a wider cultural tourism project funded by Arts Council England’s National Lottery Funded Grants for the Arts Programme, which sees Marketing Lancashire and leading stakeholders including Arts Lancashire, Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council, working together to establish Lancashire’s cultural offer as one of the leading reasons to visit the county.

When the Red Rose in Preston, the first artwork, appeared as part of Lancashire Encounter 23-25 September in Surgeon’s Court; transforming one of the city’s inconspicuous alleyways into a place to rediscover and explore, beneath a canopy of red balloons, illuminated at night.

Visitors will also be ‘seeing red’ at the new inaugural LightPool Festival, this year. The festival will celebrate Blackpool’s unique relationship with light, When the Red Rose In Blackpool will add a playful and surreal Lancashire twist to the resort’s unique, seaside heritage and enduring charm. Part of the dazzling annual Blackpool Illuminations celebration, the LightPool Festival is free to attend and takes place from Friday 28 October – Wednesday 2 November.

Steve Messam’s final artwork in the quartet, When the Red Rose In Lancaster, will see an impressive mass of large, bright-red balloons hovering fleetingly over a secret garden, before ascending into the night sky of this historic city. Creating the artwork in the walled gardens of the Storey Institute invites questions about abandoned and lost spaces, ignites curiosity and generates excitement for future possibilities. Part of the Light Up Lancaster annual celebrations from Friday 4 – Saturday 5 November.

For more information on these and a wide range of cultural events this autumn go to visitlancashire.com and follow the progress of #RedRose #CultureLancs on Twitter.

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