AN award-winning artist has produced a powerful, humane and thoughtful artistic critique of the Covid pandemic.

The blockbuster exhibition, called Regeneration, opens on November 21, at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

It has been created by Northern artist Martin ‘Lefty’ Kinnear who lives in Wensley, in the North Yorkshire Dales.

He became a ‘20-year overnight international success’ after he was awarded the prestigious Medaille d’Argent at the Salon De Beaux Art in Paris in 2018.

It is the Salon of Monet, Picasso and museum founder Joséphine Bowes.

The new nationally relevant exhibition follows on, and overlaps with, the hugely popular Norman Cornish retrospective.

Regeneration is a show about what happened when plans were cancelled, futures placed in doubt, and the world stopped.

It is a show about the year which changed lives, a show about doubt and loss, but also beauty and hope, and the life-affirming power of change and the restorative powers of contemplation in the stunning landscape of Teesdale.

At 9ft x 7ft, the huge oil painting centrepiece of the exhibition, the Pieta for The North, is set become a Northern icon alongside Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North. It taps into the most basic universal human need in times of grief and despair: to assuage personal suffering through sharing it.

Mr Kinnear said: “I had been working for the last 3 years on an exhibition called Regeneration about the North for The Bowes Museum. It changed direction when the pandemic put all our lives on hold. This exhibition is about what happens when plans are cancelled, futures placed in doubt and our world stopped.

“This exhibition is about loss and doubt, but it is also about beauty, hope and the life-affirming power of change.”

George Harris, exhibition manager at The Bowes Museum, said: “This exhibition is a major undertaking. It is hugely exciting and nationally relevant. It is a landmark exhibition of immense power and will resonate at a personal level with everyone that comes to see it. It is about the experiences we have all so recently shared, and continue to share. That is its power.”