This weekend was Middlesbrough Art Weekender, I got to see a lot of art and meet up with a few old friends. The work that had the greatest impact on me was Adrian McGovern’s The Livingroom of Loss. McGovern has pasted a number of his paintings onto the walls of derelict and demolished former homes in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough.
My friend Peter Rowe described the work as street art left in the ruins of Mayor Mallon’s Middlesbrough. In 2005 Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon described the Gresham area as a cancer that needed to be cut out of the town.
My personal opinion is that McGovern’s work is a poignant, albeit temporary, memorial to the shameful and wanton destruction of a vibrant town centre community.
While Middlesbrough continues to expand outward and the pressure to build new homes is put on the green spaces that surround the town, a huge swath of town centre land has remained shamefully derelict for more than a decade.