Ever since Mackenzie’s “Made in Teesside” exhibition at Arthaus Gallery, Mackenzie and the team there have been working with a group of ex-steelworkers from Tesside from Team Talk, who were captivated by Mackenzie’s images of industrial Middlesbrough that were so familiar to them.
Team Talk is aimed at engaging males recently made redundant across Teesside, targeting mainly men aged 40+ who have been impacted by the recent closure of SSI Steelworks.
When they visited the gallery, Mackenzie talked to them about his sculpture, The Apostles, describing it as “The Middlesbrough Last Supper” – wherein a group of flat-capped working men are leaving the pub on a Friday night, immersed in their tall tales, jokes and debates, fall into the instantly recognisable positions of the Apostles themselves.
This set in motion a plan to recreate the sculpture with the Teeside working men from Team Talk and in the summer of 2018 this was realised to great effect.
Appropriately the sculpture was recreated on Redcar seafront not far from the decommissioned blast furnaces of the steel mills. The friends from Team Talk, being so deeply connected in their personal histories to what Mackenzie is representing in his sculpture, really did bring The Apostles to life.