I use my hands and the practical skills that I have acquired to capture the foundations of my heritage; the bridge formed between my industrial make-up and the entering into a conceptual art environment; contrasting a definite, methodical and practical character inherited from generations of miners and a childhood situated around a working dockyard.
This bridge is materialised through the building of machines, using traditional, engineered planning to arrive at kinetic sculptures with alternative functions, mechanised by audience interaction which is paramount to the function of the work. Gears, cogs and wheels, from blue prints, etchings and drawings, informed by monologues, photographs and film.
The Canary Resuscitation Tank, a piece of equipment manufactured to revive canaries after gas inhalation down the mines; demonstrating the act of caring for the birds lives, whilst they protected those of the miners.
Following is a kinetic sculpture; a magnified version of the original resuscitator; with the same functions to bring a model canary to life, but incorporating other mining machinery.
A whorl (the wheel that lowered the cages down the pit) is powered through audience interaction, requiring physical input, echoing the manual labour of mining. The rotation of the wheel powers a crank, which in turn activates a double acting box bellow, creating a constant airflow in relation to the rotating wheel. This airflow then powers a turbine connected to an ornithopter, a model bird that imitates the movement of flying.
The flying model canary, therefore, is brought to life through the workings of the wheel.
Nan and Bobby’s Mining Archive
My Gran, Nan Hendrie, and my Papa, Bobbie Hendrie, reflecting on the importance of the Miner’s Welfare Band to their community. Whilst my Gran shows me around the former Polkemmet Pug, the very train that passed her everyday as a child, my Papa plays ‘Songs My Mother Taught me’ on his double bass in the Whitburn band hall.
‘The Dardanelles’ was a name given to Polkemmet Colliery after the campaign during the First World War, when the second shaft of the pit was sunk. The colliery supplied coking coal for the Ravenscraig steelworks in Motherwell, but closed due to flooding during the 1984 miners strikes. Polkemmet colliery was a mine that two generations of my family worked at.
Below are some images belonging to my grandparents.