Opposites: Ashes and Diamonds

By Jo Phillips

Che Scargill
Che Scargill © Darren Coffield.

As evident in the title, painter Darren Coffield’s ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ series is composed of two opposite elements that clashes strongly against each other. One that symbolises organic decay and eventual destruction, the other an eternal treasure beyond imagination. His exhibition is a study of the miner’s strike of the early ‘80s reflecting the significant time in Britain’s history when heavy industry ceased, dramatically effecting national economics.

Pig Out
Pig Out © Darren Coffield.

The exhibition features his fine art portraiture as well as a series of talks and live performances. Many of the pieces on display are created using coal from the National Union of Mineworkers branch at Maltby Colliery in South Yorkshire, which was officially closed just last month. Powerful political statements are made from pieces, such as ‘Pig Out’ which portrays a big fat pig wearing a Police hat with a sinister smirk. Other striking declarations include a life-sized bust of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made from resin and coal dust as well as a portrait of the Iron Lady in rust on iron.
 
Darren Coffield’s ‘Ashes and Diamond’ runs now till Saturday 31 August 2013 at The Outsiders, 77 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne. A proportion of proceeds will be donated to the Durham Miners Association, for the restoration and maintenance of its archive of trade union banners.