Gospels artwork transforms local eyesore

Gospels artwork transforms local eyesore

8th November 2013


AN unsightly bus depot wall has risen from the ashes to become an iconic artwork adding a touch of culture to an historic site.

Inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels, the 20ft high mural stretches the length of the Go North East bus depot on a major approach road to Chester-le-Street.

And the commission is already becoming as popular as other North-East public artworks such as the Gateshead Angel and the Darlington Brick Train.

Completed by celebrated Borders artist Ant Macari, the mural was originally designed to remove an eyesore along the A167 which was due to be seen by thousands of visitors attending the Ashes cricket match at the nearby Riverside ground.

It also happened at a time when Go North East was celebrating its centenary and when the Lindisfarne Gospels were touring the region.

The project was managed by County Durham-based ARTworks in Teesdale, a charity that handles a varied portfolio of arts projects across the region.

Project manager Jill Cole said: “The concept began with the idea of improving an eyesore but has resulted in a major artwork which is cementing the region’s reputation for large scale art installations.

“The community was instrumental in selecting the final design which is a poignant reminder of the historical links between Chester-le-Street and the Gospels, as highlighted by the local heritage group.”

The Gospels were first translated in Chester le Street on the long journey of Cuthbert’s shrine across the region and the town played a significant role in the development of Christianity.

'Aldred the Scribe' translated the gospels from Latin to the regional Old English vernacular c.950-60. He was a member of the "Community of Cuthbert" that settled in Chester-le-Street and he eventually became provost in 970. The Lindisfarne Gospels are the oldest surviving example of the gospels in English.

The £15,000 transformation of the wall, next to the Picktree roundabout, was jointly funded by Go North East and local Neighbourhood Budget funds with the support of Chester-le-Street and District Area Action Partnership (AAP)
Artist Ant Macari explained that transferring the design on to the fabric of the wall had been extremely complex.

“Each of the five panels of the wall is a different height,” he said. “We had to do a lot of mathematical calculations to ensure that the pattern looked the same from start to finish, but in reality the panel at the northern end is far smaller than the panel at the other end.”

Go North East marketing and sales manager Stephen King was delighted with the result.

He said: “This couldn’t have come at a better time as we are celebrating our centenary.”

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