Response to the fire on Eastbourne pier from the community and the desire expressed by so many to see a phoenix rise from the ashes has been extraordinary, writes Jean Clark.
And for the town’s artists, many of whom were born and bred here, they have lost not only a cherished part of their heritage, but one of their favourite subjects. So are they downhearted?
Artist Sheena Bourn, who lives near the pier and raced down on her bicycle to witness the conflagration, is determined ‘to make some meaning out of the cremated pier’.
“I have painted over 60 canvases on site from a variety of positions at different times of day and at different tide levels through all seasons,” she says, “so this has been a shock.
“But if I can gain closer access to the skeletal remains, the colourful drawings I produce could go on sale with a percentage of the sales going to the Pier Benevolent Fund.”
Sheena is hoping that her gesture will gain support among those members of the town’s artistic community, who share her special affinity with the pier.
Perhaps they could put on their own exhibition: The Not the End of the Pier Show?
Meanwhile Sheena’s vibrant, colourful work can be seen at the Eastbourne Uncovered exhibition at the Birley Centre (next to the Towner) along with 16 other Eastbourne Group artists offering their unique behind-the-scenes interpretation of the town.
It’s open today and every day during Airbourne and Bank Holiday Monday. All works are for sale along with gift cards, affordable prints in the browser and one of the artists will be on hand to give you a guided tour.
If you’ve never visited the Birley before, it’s a hidden gem and well worth a visit.
Eastbourne Uncovered is at the Birley Centre from 10am-5pm, August 14-17 and 23-25. Admission is free.