Next stop: the Costa del Wiv

A series of colourful installations created by Hull-born artist Richie Culver has taken over eight shop windows along Whitefriargate this week, as part of a unique public art project called Windows of Whitefriargate. The installation Costa del Wiv, commissioned by Humber Street Gallery, sees each shop window proudly promoting holiday offers to Withernsea, showing a series of futuristic, rival travel agencies, battling to offer the best deal.

The exaggerated, tongue-in-cheek humour of the project is something artist Richie Culver hopes people will enjoy, but he also wants to show that Withernsea, a picturesque seaside town just 20 miles away from Hull, is far more beautiful than the images he has created.

Despite not having had any formal training, Richie Culver’s artistic work was first featured in a group exhibition at Tate Modern. Since then he has experimented with photography, mixed-media installations and paintings, and has exhibited his creations extensively around the world. Richie’s work is heavily autobiographical and his pride in his hometown has inspired this new piece.

Richie saw the Windows of Whitefriargate project as an opportunity to shine a light on Withernsea, a place he holds very close to his heart. He said: ‘I hope the project will brighten up Whitefriargate, put a smile on people’s faces and remind Hull locals, as well as those visiting the city, that they are so close to one of the UK’s best kept secrets – a real classic English seaside resort.

“After all, what’s not to love? The ocean? Golden sands? Arcades? Withernsea is Hull’s very own miniature Monaco and Las Vegas all rolled into one, and it’s just 20 miles away.”

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: ‘Richie’s passion for the area where he grew up is clear to see and it’s wonderful when someone uses their talent to shine a light on something so personal to them. His designs for this installation are tongue-in-cheek, but also reverential and I’m sure they will brighten up the day of everyone who passes them.”

Mayor of Withernsea, Councillor Terry Dagnall said: It’s fantastic that an artist from Withernsea, who has gone on to achieve so much in his career, has taken the opportunity to represent the town in this installation as part of Hull 2017. It shows that the city’s year in the spotlight isn’t just about Hull, but that it benefits the wider region too.”

Richie said: ‘Being asked to take part in Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is one of the proudest moments of my career. To do something in the city in which I was born means a lot to me.’

The installation Costa Del Wiv will run across Whitefriargate in Hull City Centre until 1 September.