Foot and Mouth remembered in art

TEN years after foot and mouth hit the Devon countryside, the disaster is being viewed with an artistic eye in a retrospective exhibition at the Salar Gallery in Hatherleigh.

Torrington artist Shan Miller was asked to paint life-sized backdrops of farming themes for the National Farmers Union to help to encourage the public back into the empty and desolate countryside, which had been closed to the public during the devastating outbreak in 2001.

Her large painted panels of farm animals were first displayed at the Salar Gallery under the title A Celebration of the Farmyard in 2002 and then toured the country, stopping at many of the major agricultural shows, including the Royal Show.

Now Shan is back at the Salar Gallery with paintings from the original exhibition, plus more recent life-sized paintings of animals, which together create an amazing impression of reality, especially when standing in their midst.

The Salar Gallery is also publishing prints of Shan’s painting Market Day, which is based on characters at Hatherleigh Livestock Market.

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Just 173 prints are being sold, to raise funds for Farm Crisis Network - the number 173 is the same as the official number of foot-and-mouth outbreaks in Devon in 2001.

The exhibition also includes black and white photographs by documentary photographer Chris Chapman, wood-carving by Ben May and books, diary writings and comments on the outbreak of foot and mouth in Devon.

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The exhibition runs until September 24.

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