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Alumnus named Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year

An artist and UCA  graduate who uses animal bones and re-fashioned toys to form thought-provoking narratives has been named the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year.

Winning a £6,500 commission, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Peter Hanmer will now create an installation in the potting shed at Cheeseburn Sculpture Gardens, which will be unveiled in May next year.

“I’m extremely happy to have won. I didn’t expect it,” the 25-year-old from Alnwick says. “I actually started off as a painter but during my BA I had a bit of a transformation. I started making these figures out of animal bones that I found in the countryside when out on walks.”

Peter adds that his unusual practice was first inspired during the second year of his degree at UCA Farnham. “A key part of my practice during my second year involved the creation of animal bone drawing installations. I saw the potential to build characters and structures to form thought-provoking and slightly unnerving narratives with these natural materials. From there, I have also gone on to branch out to more traditional forms of model making. Some of the artists that have most influenced my practice, such as Tessa Farmer and the Chapman Brothers, are also sculptors.”

Peter’s design, The Cave, was chosen from twelve shortlisted proposals by the public and a panel of judges. The finalists’ sculptures were displayed in model form at Cheeseburn in May.

“My larger models can take anything from two to five months to create, but for my Cheeseburn installation, let’s just say that it’s going to involve a lot of hard work and time,” Peter says of the scale of the project. “I’m going to need to get started as soon as possible. This piece is more ambitious than anything I have created previously, which is both exciting and a little daunting.”

The award-winning installation The Cave, a direct reference to Plato’s short story ‘Allegory of the cave’, will see the potting shed filled with up to 60 figures made out of toy action figures that have been refashioned with a modelling clay, with the aim of transforming the shed into a new dark and disturbing sculptural world.

The model will be available to view again from the 1 to 2 and 8 to 9 July at Cheeseburn.

To find out more about Peter’s work, visit