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Meet the artist: Dan Arnold, Heaving Lines 2018

White text reads 'Dan Arnold', with the Museum's logo underneath. In the background is a photo of the Museum's 'Titanic Stories' exhibition.

Meet the creator of this stunning installation

Falmouth based artist Dan Arnold @thiscountryside is the creator of Heaving Lines, a stunning, sensitive and inspiring representation of the iceberg suspended over the lifeboat in our exhibition Titanic Stories.

Heaving lines, with monkey fist knots tied as weights at the end, were often used to connect one boat with another. In this sense they can be seen as powerful symbols of connection, tying these stories together.

The installation is made of 2,208 monkey fist knots, each representing a person on board the ship. Most of the knots were made by local artists, others by museum staff, volunteers, visitors and local groups, making this an ambitious and inspirational community achievement.

Inside 708 of the knots, representing the number of the Titanic survivors, are hand-written messages of hope and empathy for those facing peril at sea today – refugees, fishermen, rig workers, lifeboat crews, sailors. It’s like a cloud of thoughts and messages hovering above the lifeboat below.

Ultra-violet light reminiscent of phosphorescence is used to highlight the knots and to give the iceberg an ephemeral and otherworldly presence rising above the boat.

Says Dan: ‘The wealth of knowledge in this part of the world is amazing. I spent many an hour with fishermen, riggers, craftsmen and boat builders, learning and talking. The community brought so much to the work bench – stories of relatives on board the Titanic, stories of making monkey fist knots while working at sea. The installation in this sense is full of stories, it is community.’

The numbers…

See Heaving Lines as part of the Titanic Stories exhibition.

See more of Dan’s work on his website and on Instagram @thiscountryside

Heaving Lines was supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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National Maritime Museum
Cornwall Trust
Discovery Quay
TR11 3QY

Tel: +44(0)1326 313388