There Is Another Alphabet

One of the three ‘There is another alphabet‘ benches, Juneau Projects, 2022
Photo by Richard Ponter

The title of the works ‘There Is Another Alphabet’ comes from a poem by Dejan Stojanovic: “There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf, singing from every river, shimmering from every sky.”,  which perhaps suggests that we can learn to ‘read’ and understand the natural world better.

As part of Wild Eye three new sculptural benches There Is Another Alphabet will be situated around Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire, they are created with designs by local people about the wildlife of the Esk Estuary in collaboration with artists Juneau Projects and are opening on 29th March.

Wild Eye display at The Pannett Art Gallery of community artworks with Juneau Projects and paintings by Kirsty Davis until 31 March. ​​Pannett Art Gallery, Pannett Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 1RE.

Artists Juneau Projects have worked with the local community to create sculptures that have a practical function (e.g. seating or information points) and raise awareness of wildlife and water quality in the Esk Estuary.

The images and prints shown here were made by Whitby residents in a series of workshops with the artists. The artworks are inspired by the wonderful wildlife and habitats found along the different stages of the Esk Estuary.

In the sessions participants designed their own model sculpture and discussed the kind of public artwork they would like to see, how it could raise awareness of the themes of the project and how it could be useful as well as aesthetically interesting.

The artists have combined images made by the local people to come up with the final designs – a series of sculptural benches with wildlife imagery covering their surfaces.

The linocut prints were made in the second phase of the community workshops and show a range of wildlife from the Esk and Whitby coast. These designs will be transferred onto the benches, carved into the wet brick clay by the artists before the bricks the benches are made from being fired. Colour was added with ceramic stain and baked onto the bricks.

Local people’s work from our workshops is being shown at The Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby alongside artworks from their collection which depict the Esk river. The display has been coordinated by early-career Whitby-based artist Kirsty Davis who was selected at the start of the project to gain professional development through working with Invisible Dust Associate Curator Jeanine Griffin and Juneau Projects. Kirsty has created her own gestural paintings about the Esk to document the process and also created a hand-drawn map of the bench locations.

The community workshops were held from 2021- 2022 at Whitby Yacht Club, Whitby Railway Community Shop, Caedmon College, Whish Charity Whitby, West Cliff Primary School, Flash Company Arts and CaVCA venues Church House and Green Lane Centre and online.

They were attended by members of the Esk Estuary Partnership, members of the public, and pupils of the respective schools and organisations. We’d like to thank everyone who came and made such great contributions. 

Thanks to: The Esk Estuary Partnership; Caedmon College; WHISH(Whitby Hidden Impairments Support and Help); West Cliff Primary School; Whitby Railway Community Shop volunteers; Whitby Naturalists; HelenBerry at Pannett Art Gallery; John Woodhead, Scarborough BoroughCouncil; Mel Bonney at CaVCA; Fergal Clenahan; Kirsty Davis; Flash Arts; Chris Burrows, Harbourmaster Scarborough Borough Council; Rob Williams& Jo Hindley-Richardson of Whitby Beach Sweep; Lynne Lawson at Whitby, Scarborough & Ryedale Disability Action Group; Linda Wild, Mayor and the local advisory group.

Curated by Jeanine Griffin and Alice Sharp, this project is part of Wild Eye, a programme by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and art-science organisation Invisible Dust, which will create new sculptures that both enable nature observation opportunities and raise awareness of the potentially devastating effects of climate change on our coastal environment. The sculptures have been created in collaboration with Scarborough Borough Council, Coast and Vale Community Action (CaVCA)

Wild Eye is funded by Scarborough and Whitby Town Deal funding allocations and aims to bring together artists, conservationists and the wider community to foster a greater understanding of climate change and the importance of protecting the incredible wildlife found across the North Yorkshire coast.

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