Colourful monkey trail launches as part of Hartlepool's Northern Festival of Illustration

There will be plenty of monkeys around in town from this weekend.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 11:52 am

Visitors to Hartlepool’s returning Northern Festival of Illustration are encouraged to follow a trail of decorated simian sculptures as part of the fourth bi-annual event.

The distinctive artworks were created for the festival by a Redcar-based former student at the school of art, Billy Cessford, who runs a business creating scenery and props for events, stage and screen, TV, film, theatre and point of sale.

They were then decorated by community groups over the summer, in a project delivered by recent graduates supported by Hartlepool-based community arts organisation Bloominart, before being delivered to local businesses who had offered to host them during the event.

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Prop maker Billy Cessford with the monkey sculptures he created.

Visitors to free exhibitions can additionally admire the work of emerging as well as established illustrators from around the world and displays from recent school of art graduates.

The winners and the shortlisted entries from The Northern Illustration Prize 2021, an international competition which is part of The Northern Festival of Illustration, will also be on show.

Hundreds of entries from across four continents were received for the prize, which is delivered in partnership with the Association of Illustrators (AOI), the professional body for illustration in the UK.

The 20 shortlisted illustrators for two prizes include artists from the United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East and Malaysia.

The monkeys will form a trail as part of the Northern Festival of Illustration.

The festival is organised by The Northern School of Art, which is based in both Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, and has attracted more than 100,000 visitors to Hartlepool since it was first held here in 2015.

This year’s programme is aimed at bringing people back out onto the streets and into shops, cafes, bars and other local businesses following the pandemic.

School of art vice principal Pat Chapman said: “This year’s festival will be about rebuilding at a local level and we aim to bring people back onto our streets, and, with our exhibits and installations, we will encourage people back in to local businesses.

"We have also spent money with local suppliers and provided paid opportunities for local graduates who have had the start of their creative careers disrupted by Covid.”

A youngster decorates one of the sculptures.

Exhibition venues include Hartlepool Art Gallery, The BIS and The Northern School of Art.

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The exhibition of decorated monkey sculptures begins on September 18.
Northern School of Art vice principal Pat Chapman.
Resilience, by Julia Sarapata de Carvalho, won the 2021 Emerging Illustrator prize.