A major public art installation was due to be removed due to the extension of the Metrolink tramline through Trafford Park. No suitable alternative location could be found for the artwork and Lauren Smith who works for the contractors and hails from Astley, contacted us to see if we would be interested in relocating it at the Mining Museum. Chair of the Trustees, Trevor Barton MBE, went along and met with Lauren on site to arrange to get it transported to the museum. The sculpture entitled SILENT CARGOES represents the types of cargo that would have been carried on the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canals in the past. The installation was designed by the artist James Wines and created with the assistance of John King of Liverpool.
The workmen’s clothing (flat cap, gloves) lying on the tops of boxes and other objects is a reminder of those who laboured on the docks, canals and in the surrounding industries such as the mines and factories of the area. These items personalise this world, suggesting that the workers have disappeared suddenly but that they might return at another time. All of the objects in the composition have been painted grey and where necessary stiffened. Two processes were used to produce the finished objects. Some articles were hot dipped and galvanised in zinc. For others, a vacuum mould of the object was prepared which was then filled with microsilicate concrete.
James Wines (born 1932) is an American artist and architect associated with environmental design. Wines is founder and president of SITE a New York City-based architecture and environmental arts organisation. In total, Wines has designed more than 150 projects for private and municipal clients in eleven countries. He has won twenty-five writing and design awards including the 1995 Chrysler Design Award. Wines is currently a professor of architecture at Penn State University in America.
The contractors have agreed to move the installation to site to save it from being lost and the Trustees will work with local artists and museum curators to decide on the best location to put it on our site. It ties in well with our railway and canal and hopefully will be an added attraction over the coming years, allowing the public to still view this great piece of Industrial art rather than losing it forever from public view.