Can you help Mo tell the story of SSI steel­works?

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

WHEN Red­car’s SSI steel­works closed art teacher Mo Coade knew it would im­pact her pupils.

Her fears were con­firmed when she asked her class of young­sters if they were di­rectly af­fected and al­most half re­vealed they were.

Now she is look­ing to tell the sto­ries of those in­volved in a new ex­hi­bi­tion – and she is seek­ing vol­un­teers to take part.

Mo, who is head of art at Rye Hills Acad­emy, Red­car, and an artist in her own right, is look­ing for mod­els for her show which is based on the peo­ple af­fected by the clo­sure of Red­car’s SSI steel­works.

A spe­cial­ist in pho­tog­ra­phy, Mo said she wants to meet any­one whose life was af­fected, whether they be former SSI em­ploy­ees, fam­ily mem­bers or im­pacted in some other way.

She said: “In Oc­to­ber, I’m go­ing to be do­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion at Kirkleatham with Gra­ham An­der­son – I’m tak­ing the wall space.

“When SSI closed I asked my class of 23 for a show of hands – and 10 of them had been di­rectly af­fected, whether it was a dad, or a grandad or some­one else.

“I want to in­ter­view those peo­ple, take their pho­to­graph and use them in the ex­hi­bi­tion. If any­body is in­ter­ested, please give me a call.”

Ahead of the ex­hi­bi­tion, though, Mo helped cel­e­brate her stu­dents’ work at the Rye Hills end of year GCSE art ex­hi­bi­tion, to­gether with print spe­cial­ist Lucy Wil­liamson and tex­tile and fash­ion spe­cial­ist Kelly He­wit­son.

She said: “This is a mix­ture of GCSE fine art, pho­tog­ra­phy and art and de­sign.

“It’s all child-cen­tred – we let them lead the learn­ing and, as a re­sult, no two pieces are the same.”

The free­dom of di­rec­tion was on full dis­play with works rang­ing from coloured screen prints and painted por­traits of hi­jab-clad women to a pen­cil-drawn cross-hatched illustration of an an­i­mal skull. Mo, who has pre­vi­ously ex­hib­ited her work at The Baltic in Gateshead, said: “We en­cour­age the chil­dren to ex­press is­sues that mat­ter to them. Is­sues like men­tal health – we use the work to help them ex­press it.”

If you were af­fected by the SSI clo­sure and are in­ter­ested in be­com­ing a model, call Mo on 07740 358888 or email pho­tog­ra­phy@mo­coade.co.uk.

Rye Hills Acad­emy art teacher Mo Coade is seek­ing vol­un­teers for her ex­hi­bi­tion

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