Hawksworth pupils play their part in new Kirkstall heritage sculpture

3 July 2019

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hawksworth wood pupils kirkstall mural

Students from Hawksworth Wood Primary School have been exploring a bright new future for Kirkstall ahead of the unveiling of a new public art work.

The new commission will take the form of a large-scale, bright yellow abstract sculpture taking inspiration from the industrial heritage built around Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkstall Forge and the surrounding Area.

A striking yellow, metal sculpture, the colour has been chosen specifically to represent industry and construction from road markings to vehicles and machinery used in modern construction, while the design represents a deconstructed water wheel emulating the wheel that powered the forge that employed generations of workers in the local area.

The artwork will be based in Kirkstall Leisure Centre grounds.

Rebecca Appleby, the artist behind the new work, has worked with children from Year 5 at Hawksworth Wood Primary School and participants from Hollybush Farm Day Centre to explore their own response to the industrial roots of the area and the changing face of its communities. She said:

“We have undertaken several community engagements including the Kirkstall Festival, Kirkstall Arts Trail, working with a group of adults at Hollybush Farm and school children at Hawksworth Wood Primary School.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity working with the local community to help inform my design, and each community group has given me an insight into what Kirkstall means to them.

“It is heart-warming to see such passion and enthusiasm for a local community from such a wide range of people. We have had some incredible creative sessions that have sparked ideas and conversation which have all informed the final piece. The groups have also produced some incredible artwork that will be reproduced onto banners for Kirkstall centre.”

Head teacher Abi Owen said:

“Over the course of six weeks, our children have very much enjoyed working with Rebecca and the team at East Street Arts, helping to inform the new art work for the area. At Hawksworth Wood Primary, we love nothing more than exploring new artistic projects and so this industrial inspired art project linked to the commission was a perfect fit for us and our exciting curriculum.”

For some participants in the groups it was the first chance to explore some of the hidden treasures of their local with a visit to Armley Mills.

Caroline Aylward from Hollybush Farm Day Centre, a centre supporting adults with learning difficulties, said:

“Working with Rebecca was a great opportunity for us and our participants who enjoyed all the different elements of the programme – they particularly loved unleashing their creativity to create their own sculptures inspired by their tour of Armley Mills.”

The work has been commissioned as part of East Street Arts’ City Less Grey’ programme, which has seen major new public art commissions across the city. This ranges from Nomad Clan’s Athena Rising creating the largest mural in the UK welcoming visitors to the city on the side of Bruntwood’s Platform building, to Ian Kirkpatrick’s striking ‘Hare for Harehills’ at the Compton Centre.

The final piece will be unveiled on the 19th July at a community event marking the launch of this year’s Kirkstall Arts Trail.

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