Louisa Love’s project in conjunction with Aylesham Heritage Centre has explored the early history of coal mining in East Kent, from the establishment of the collieries following initial Channel Tunnel borings in 1890, to the tunnelling processes carried out by miners during WW1 and the development of the associated coalfield landscapes and communities.
Through ongoing conversations with the community of ex-miners at Aylesham, looking through its archives and carrying out exploratory walks along the Miners’ Way Trail in the former colliery landscape, the artist became interested in exploring narrative ways of navigating and connecting together the various historical, personal and physical perspectives of coal mining. She has interpreted this body of research activity through both individual and collaborative experiments with walking, drawing, collecting and recording.
Louisa’s concluding artwork for Aylesham Heritage Centre takes the form of a multi-narrative film loosely weaving together the stories of two local men who worked in the East Kent collieries – Richard Tubman, one of the youngest men to fight in the First World War, and Wilfred Allsopp, the artist’s own grandfather, who moved to Kent from South Wales to work at Betteshanger Colliery. Gathering together collaboratively captured field recordings, video documents produced by Louisa and interview footage, the film portrays a personal, meandering, memorial journey through the present-day coalfield landscape which reflects on the various experiences of being a miner through the guiding narratives of these two figures.
A collaborative drawing and a selection of smaller sketches created during a community drawing event held by the artist at the 2015 Kent Miners’ Festival also accompany Louisa’s film in her final display at Aylesham Heritage Centre.
Heaps and Lines and Hearts and Mines : Film by Louisa Love