Co-founder of the Bay Art Gallery.
Currently completing research at the University of Brighton on The spectre of Violence - images of war and conflict.
This work was produced by Ken in 2005 for his final year at the Kent Institute
of Art and Design (now UCA) whilst studying for a BA Hons. The
work is based around the final unearthing and disposing of the remains of Betteshanger
Colliery Kent in 2004. Betteshanger was the last Kent coal mine to be closed in 1989 by the British Government led by Margaret Thatcher.
To make an image is to mortify and resurrect in the same gesture.
(W.J.T. Mitchell, 2005)
In 1989 after
decommissioning, the Betteshanger Colliery mineshafts were filled with
rock and cement and finally capped. The contents of the Colliery,
its obsolete machinery, equipment and personal objects abandoned by the
miners, were buried in shallow pits on the
site. The burial sites, that to me appeared reminiscent of
mass graves, remained covered until
2004 when the site was cleared in preparation for the redevelopment of the land
into an environmental park. The remnants and memory of the former
Colliery were again disturbed and brought to the surface for disposal.
was fortunate in obtaining permission to photograph the work-site and
salvage from the spoil heaps anything I
was able to carry away and considered important to my work. What
I collected were small items of miners' clothing, gloves, boots, and
tools, electrical switches, twisted metal, and fragments of the
conveyor belt that moved coal towards the surface. The items were
rusting, rotting, decaying and disintegrating, seemingly a fitting
metaphor for what had taken place politically.
There are two hidden and buried memories
here: a violent political struggle between the
NUM and the British Government; and a
fragmented and lost mining community. The conflict brought
bitterness, strife and severe hardship for the miners and their
After stabilising some of the
recovered items, I used these objects, as well as coal, dust and chalk
found at the site, as part of the fabric of my artworks, sculptures and
Mixed media, Acrylic, Oil, Bitumin, Coal dust, Chalk and Jesmonite
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