Veronica Sekules, the former deputy director of the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, has opened a contemporary art gallery in King’s Lynn. GroundWork, Norfolk’s newest gallery, will focus on art and the environment.

The gallery launches with an exhibition that celebrates the friendship between Richard Long and the late Roger Ackling, who passed away at his home in Norfolk in 2014 as the exhibition was in the early stages of its planning.

Acting as a memorial to Ackling, the main exhibition includes several of his weather diaries, some exhibited publicly for the first time. A new splash drawing by Long uses mud from the Great Ouse river in King’s Lynn and sits alongside Ackling’s driftwood reliefs, created using the sun’s mark-making rays.

Ranging over three floors, the GroundWork building has taken two years to restore from a disused former furniture-makers workshop.

Above the gallery on the first floor is a multi-functional space comprising living quarters and a shop featuring jewellery by Rosalie McMillan, Tina McCleod, Linda McFarlane and Kirsten Sonne. On the top floor, the Penthouse will function as a holiday let offering views of historic buildings and the quayside junction between two rivers.

One of the aims of the gallery is to act as a convivial space where artists and the public can meet to discuss art and environmental issues, providing a platform for campaigning and information. Given that the gallery is sited within a flood plain, Sekules, who worked for Friends of the Earth before entering the arts, intends GroundWork to be both “a social and educational asset” for the town.

“King’s Lynn is a beautiful old market port and really needs a good contemporary gallery,” she says. “I aim to bring artists who are established and with major international reputations and also to showcase the work of up and coming artists.”

‘Sunlight and Gravity’ is at GroundWork Gallery, 17 Purfleet Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk until 30 October 2016.

1. GroundWork Gallery, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
2. Roger Ackling working. Photo: Isabella Oulton

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