Exhibition on Spear installation on Semerwater opens in Hawes

David Murphy’s ‘Spear’ installation at Semerwater in October 2016

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An exhibition telling the story of one of an imaginative outdoor art installation will open this Friday at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

SPEAR, running from 26 May to 16 July, presents material from artist David Murphy’s large scale installation – by the same name – on the shores of Semerwater in Raydale last year.

For two days at the end of October, a floating pavilion was installed on the lake, connected to the shore by a walkway.

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The reflection it made in the water recalled the shape of the museum’s prized bronze age spearhead, which was discovered at Semerwater in 1938.

Murphy’s original model and sketchbooks have been brought together with archaeological collections that originated from Semerwater, to provide an intimate insight into the realisation of the project.

Also showcased will be photographic records from the weekend and a new film created by Peter Spence and David Murphy featuring local people who were involved in or attended the event.

David Murphy said: “I feel this is a valuable opportunity to consolidate the stories and successes of the project by returning full-circle to its point of origin at the Dales Museum.  I’m interested in how art can connect people in the present by acknowledging links with the past.

The spearhead which inspired David Murphy.

“We’ve put together an exhibition that threads together 2500 years of human history and creative endeavour.  We wanted to reflect upon the experiences of an extraordinary weekend at Semerwater by bringing together research material and visitor recollections in a new film about the project.  Shown alongside original sketchbooks, models and important Semerwater artefacts from the museum collection, people will be able to immerse themselves in a very ancient history that is still being written.”

The Dales Countryside Museum is owned and run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Museum Manager Fiona Rosher said: “David’s amazing, architectural scale installation seen at Semerwater was a huge hit.  More than a thousand people saw it.  His artistry enabled people to connect with Semerwater and the surrounding landscape in a new way.

“The SPEAR exhibition captures the story behind the installation.  I hope people will be inspired – as David was – by the museum’s collection, and will wonder at the heritage of the Yorkshire Dales.”