Internationally-acclaimed Lakeland artist Julian Cooper is supporting an online exhibition opposing plans to open the UK’s first deep coal mine for 30 years off the Cumbrian coast.
Grasmere-born Julian, 73, is the son of the late Lake District painter William Heaton Cooper and has been a resident artist in Australia, the US and France during his own career.
Now he has produced a piece of work reflecting his Lakeland roots as guest artist at the Postcards From Cumbria virtual exhibition. Called ‘Towards The Sea, Scafell’, the painting looks out from the mountain top over Wastwater to the Irish Sea, showing the Sellafield nuclear plant in the distance.
“West Cumbria doesn’t need yet more dirty industries. It needs ones with a future,” said Julian, who is backing the Keep Cumbrian Coal In The Hole campaign.
Organiser Marianne Birkby has assembled like-minded artists to join the exhibition which she says will highlight the land and sea under threat from the proposed mine. Marianne, who has campaigned against the controversial plan since 2017, described Julian’s painting as “monumental”, adding that it showed the area under threat from extracting coking coal from under the sea,
“The area is stunningly beautiful and has a long history of attracting artists and poets, from Turner who sought inspiration from St Bees Head to Norman Nicholson, who has been dubbed “The Geologist’s Poet”, said Marianne, the exhibition curator.
Postcards From Cumbria explores the geology, history and wildlife of the west coast of Cumbria seen through the lens of the plan to mine between Sellafield and the Solway Coast. Cumbria County Council is scheduled to revisit the planning application from West Cumbria Mining on 8th July in Kendal.
Besides Julian, other Cumbrian artists taking part in the exhibition include Denny Derbyshire, Judith Walmsley, Laura Lynch, Andrea Pentecost, Shiela Levi-Watkins and Alison Denwood. The exhibition website can be found at Postcards from Cumbria.