SuperLeeds by Supermundane at Leeds train station. Photo by Sarah Zagni.
A series of new large-scale public art installations are unveiled across Leeds this Christmas and New Year, as part of the Unfold festival. Organised by Leeds City Council, the programme celebrates the return of the British Art Show 8 in Leeds and showcases the strength and diversity of the visual arts scene in the city. The commissions range from a vast interactive mural to a multi-sensory 3D artwork and will be installed in public spaces across the city.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, says:
“Enabling the public to enjoy and benefit from Leeds’ thriving art scene is at the very heart of the Unfold programme and nothing epitomises this more than commissioning public artworks that everyone visiting Leeds will be able to see and enjoy.”
New commissions include public art installations to welcome visitors and locals to Leeds. A collaboration of Leeds-based creatives are working with Network Rail and Leeds Business Improvement District to create a welcoming installation in Leeds Train Station. The concept, called ‘Windows of Leeds’, consists of large, 3D sculptural lettering which houses individually designed windows. These windows will be regularly updated by local artists and designers to showcase the diverse and ever growing creative talent of the city.
Leeds-based muralist and illustrator Nathan Evans has also been commissioned by the city in partnership with Leeds Business Improvement District to create a major mural to greet passersby. On the exterior of the iconic Leeds Kirkgate Market, the artwork will spell out ‘Hello & Welcome To Leeds’. The hand-drawn letters will reflect the Victorian origins of the building while the vibrant colour palette and geometric background root the work firmly in the 21st century. The installation also features an interactive spot where visitors can take photos of themselves framed by the colourful work behind them.
Andrew Cooper, CEO of LeedsBid, says:
“We are delighted the Leeds Business Improvement District investment is bringing these unique pieces of major public art to animate both the Kirkgate Market and Leeds Station. Funding the creation of such exciting visual additions to these key city-centre locations, produced by outstanding local artists, demonstrates our commitment to delivering real additionality through collaboration.”
Further public interactive and live projects as part of the Unfold programme include a ‘Pop Up Pod’ at Leeds Train Station, hosted by retailer Colours May Vary, that will also function as a live exhibition space showcasing new commissions from a rolling roster of artists. Illustrator, comic book artist and designer Kristyna Baczynski will have her work on show until 15 November, followed by the playful and vibrant work of illustrator and printmaker Rose Blake.
Local collective Buffalo, working with Purple Patch Arts, has also created a new work for the city. A multi-sensory 3D installation inspired by Dylan Thomas’ famous story ‘Under Milk Wood’ can be found in the Exhibition Space at Leeds Central Library. A deconstructed version of Dylan Thomas’ writing shed stands on a small sand outcrop, inviting the public to enter and immerse themselves in sights, smells, textures, sounds and tastes, all inspired by the stories of Milk Wood. Visitors are encouraged to share their memories, dreams and ideas of community at the exhibition and to return to experience ‘Dreams of Milk Wood’ again, when their story will be part of the experience.
Rob Lowe, also known as Supermundane, has created a new 14-meter wide commission inside Leeds train station, named ‘SuperLeeds’. A vibrant kaleidoscope of colour and shape, the work welcomes the 120,000 people that pass through the station every day. The playful design uses bubblegum colours and bold lines to create patterns that emerge from different angles, making the artwork shift and change as people walk past.