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South Shields artist’s exhibition features portrait of dad

Danny Gilchrist with two of his portraits. The one on the right is of his'dad, Dennis.
Danny Gilchrist with two of his portraits. The one on the right is of his'dad, Dennis.

A Shields-born artist’s portrait of his dad forms part of a new exhibition.

Danny Gilchrist’s drawing of dad Dennis is one of six drawings in an exhibition called This is Me, on show at The Customs House Fusion Gallery until March 13.

All of the portraits are of local people who have some form of visual impairment and use Sight Service, a provider of services and support for people who are visually impaired and live in South Tyneside and Gateshead.

Danny, who was born and brought up in South Shields, said: “I had a portrait exhibition at Newcastle Central Library last year, and wanted to do something similar. I contacted the gallery curator at The Customs House, Esen Kaya, and we talked about what a possible exhibition might look like.

“Esen suggested working with Sight Service as The Customs House was already working on a project for the main gallery with them. I knew of their work as my dad uses their services, and he’s contributed to the exhibition which my work complements.

“The portraits were done in about four weeks, and I took literally hundreds of the six people – John McConnell, Peter Dixon, Mavis Dowel, Millie Reid, Eunice Mills and my dad – to base my work on. I’ve tried to capture their personalities and also how their individual visual impairments have affected them.”

Danny has a degree in fine art from Sunderland Polytechnic.

Esen said: “Danny’s portraits are thoughtful, warm and quite beautiful. They complement our exhibition in the main gallery, Making Sense, which is a series of paintings based on the Shields coastline produced by users of Sight Service with the help of artist Jenny Purrett.”