Long-time undiscovered artist gets hometown exhibition

A Teesside artist whose work went undiscovered for much of his life has now been given a hometown exhibition in Middlesbrough aged 75.

For more than 60 years David Watson has been painting Middlesbrough and its surrounding areas with a particular focus on its industrial heritage, particularly the shipyards where he worked in his early life.

However his work largely went unnoticed for a long period of time.

Mr Watson had never even left Teesside until the National Football Museum in Manchester exhibited some of his work around five years ago.

Now an exhibition of his work – titled Belonging – has gone on display at Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum.

He said: “It’s nice and good to see it on the wall. I used to come to Albert Park as a kid and come in here so it is good.

“People have been very good and asking me different questions about the work.

“For me I just paint and hope to make the people happy and if they like the work then I’m happy.”

At the opening of Belonging, curated by Michaela Wetherell and produced by Mark Parham, speeches were given in tribute to Mr Watson’s work by Mr Parham and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston.

Mr Preston said: “David is an under-appreciated artist who has lived in the Middlesbrough area all his life and for decades has chronicled our heritage.

“For the Dorman Museum, which was founded on steelmaking, to host David’s industrial and social art is so perfect and I want to say well done to everyone involved in making it happen including Middlesbrough Council staff.”

Matthew Storey, Middlesbrough Council’s Museum’s Head of Transformation, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to display David Watson’s work at the Dorman Museum.

“David’s roots are very firmly in Middlesbrough and his work captures the industrial history of the north from the perspective of someone who has lived through it and so the Dorman Museum feels like the perfect fit for this exhibition.”

• The Belonging exhibition will remain on display at the Dorman Museum until April 19, 2020.