Pirates exhibition takes over Blackpool coffee shop gallery

Pirates have landed in Blackpool - in the form of a treasure trove of art above a coffee shop in the resort.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:45 am

The seafarers are the subject of the latest exhibition by members of Blackpool-based art group Arrested Development in the gallery above The Hive on Church Street.

Artists from the UK, including Blackpool, have collaborated with partners from Sweden to curate the exhibition called Libertalia.

It tells the story of European pirates who fought for people's rights and founded ‘Libertalia’ 300 years ago with pirate gold overseen by pirate queen Ingela Gathenhielm from her home in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

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Libertalia exhibition
Libertalia exhibition

Artist Alexis K Johnson, who co-conceived the show, said: "“There are legends of pirates who founded this amazing self-goverened city 300 years ago with their pirate gold in a hidden location in Europe.

"So we thought wouldn’t it be exciting to bring this story to the people of Blackpool, who are pirates at heart.

"We’re grateful to Arts Council England for supporting us to do this.”

The show has been co-created by artists from Blackpool and Gothenburg where the story was unearthed.

One of the images from the exhibition

Co-curator and artist Libby Nightingale said, “I can’t wait for people to see the show, it’s been designed to feel a bit like you are stepping back in time into Ingela’s pirate house and life.

"There’s her music room, images of the sea and shadowy photographs from the house where you can really feel the pirate presence.”

The exhibition has original works from more than 30 artists from Blackpool, Sweden, Liverpool and South America,

Co-curator and artist Dawn Mander said: “The exhibition asks the people of Blackpool how we could make Blackpool a ‘Libertalia’.

The exhibition is in the gallery above The Hive

"In one work we invite people to write on a manifesto wall. In another they can design and raise a Blackpool ‘Libertalia’ flag. We’d love people to come and take part.”

The exhibition is open today and tomorrow (December20), before re-opening after Christmas on Thursday January 16, Thursday to Saturday each week from 11am to 5pm, staying open until February.

It follows on from a successful exhibition of work by female photographers at The Hive by The Royal Photographic Society.