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Backshift: Bob Olley at 80

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Backshift Bob Olleyat80at Mining Art Gallery Resized GIF

One of the North Easts best-loved artists, Bob Olley, started work at Whitburn Colliery when he was 17, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle. He left the mining industry in 1968 when Whitburn Colliery closed, before becoming a full-time artist in 1974.

Now, in a special exhibition to celebrate his 80th birthday, Bob looks back on his artistic career and reveals how the heart and humour of the people of the North East have inspired his work. It will feature more than 30 of Bobs works, offering a window into his perspective on the reality of the mining world and community life surrounding it in the North East of England.

From his school days, he was encouraged to never put down his pencil by his school art teacher. Like many of the men who hewed and hauled coal, Bob expressed himself best through art and brought the seemingly inhospitable, hidden world of the coal mine to the surface.

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