Inspirational artwork finds permanent home in Hartlepool Gallery thanks to council funding offer

Hartlepool Borough Council has secured funding to purchase award-winning artist Simon Bartram’s ‘North Sea Man’ – part of his ‘Under The Vapor Trails’ exhibition, which was exhibited at the Hartlepool Art Gallery earlier this year.

Purchase of the painting was made possible by funding from the Nerys Johnson Contemporary Art Fund and it is displayed alongside work by members of the city’s RAW35 photography group, which were inspired by themes from the exhibition and set out to capture the importance of the local football team to the community.

The Jarrow-born artist’s exhibition presented a portrait of contemporary Nordic masculinity and captured the ‘hardy’ characters that populated the pubs and football terraces where Simon was raised in the North East.

Simon Bartram with his painting and members of Hartlepool’s RAW35 photography group.

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“Under The Vapor Trails” resonated with locals who said they saw themselves, or someone they knew, in the men depicted in the paintings.

Angela Thomas, Curator of Hartlepool Art Gallery, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to add this magnificent portrait of Simon Bartram to the Hartlepool collection.

“The fact that it is exhibited alongside work produced by some of the RAW35 photographers clearly shows the relevance of this piece.

The man from the North Sea takes its place in the exhibition.

“Visitors will immediately see how Simon’s painting influenced the photographic project and perhaps make us all stop and think about the characters that make up our own local communities.”

Simon said: “I am very happy to have my painting North Sea Man added to the Hartlepool collection.

“It was such an honor to have my exhibit ‘Under the Vapor Trails’ shown in such a wonderful space as the Hartlepool Art Gallery and now it’s very exciting that one of the photos has found a permanent home there.”

He added: “I hope North Sea Man will be seen by many people in the years to come.”

The Under the Vapor Trails exhibition and photography project was funded by Arts Council England and supported by the Tees Valley Museums Group.

The Hartlepool Art Gallery in Church Square is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and admission is free.

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