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PREVIEW; The Working Man Museum Collection, Castle Galleries, Cardiff Bay.

HE was the world famous artist who celebrated the life of the working man in his paintings.

And now rare, signed prints by Alexander Millar are to be unveiled at Castle Galleries in Cardiff Bay to coincide with the opening of a major new exhibition of his work.

The Working Man Museum Collection is a limited edition collection of six autographed prints powerfully portraying the struggles of the steel workers, ship workers and miners in the North East of England, where the Scots-born artist relocated in his teenage years.

The prints have been picked from some of Millar's most powerful work, the highly-prized originals regularly fetching five-figure sums nationwide.

"As soon as the siren would sound and the shipyard gates opened, out spilled the men who built the ships that made Britain great and our country a leader of the seas," says Millar, recalling the rhythm of the working man, or 'gadgies', in one of his pieces called Evening Song.

"The sound of hobnail boots marching on the cobbled roads, the chatter and laughter of the workers carrying through the air - the evening would be filled with their song."

Millar'sartwasshapedbyatoughand gritty upbringing in the small mining community of Springside, just outside Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland and his adopted Newcastle. He drifted his way through a number of different jobs, including time as a window cleaner, before picking up a paintbrush in the early Eighties.

Self -taught, he became a professional artist in 1988 and, despite never receiving any professional teaching, Millar enjoyed a number of sell-out exhibitions before one of his paintings was entered in the Daily Mail's 'Not the Turner Prize'.

From a pool of 10,000 entries his work was chosen as one of the finalists and he exhibited at London's Mall Galleries where his work was compared to the spirit and sensitivity of Lawrence Stephen Lowry.

"I'm continually surprised to see the effects my paintings have on people," adds Millar.

"On many occasions I've had women moved to tears absorbed by a painting that evokes memories of their father or grandfather."

The Working Man Museum Collection is on at Castle Galleries, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, from tomorrow for two months. To contact the gallery telephone 029 2049 5240


* The Journey Home by Alexander Millar * Evening Song by Alexander Millar
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 18, 2011
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