Leeds City Square to be transformed into magical ancient 'sculpture forest' for remainder of 2023
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‘Making A Stand’, one of 12 signature projects commissioned as part of LEEDS 2023 and set open to the public on June 15, is co-created by world-renowned visual artist Michael Pinsky, whose work challenges the status quo on climate change and urban design, and award-winning environmental architects Studio Bark.
The artwork takes inspiration from the ancient ‘Forest of Leodis’ on which Leeds is built, and aims to bring the magic of the ancient forest back into the city and over the next three weeks around 120 giant timber fins each up to 7 metres tall will be craned in and erected on site.
Kully Thiarai, creative director and CEO of LEEDS 2023 commented: “City Square has been part of Leeds’s story for over a century; it’s the gateway to the city centre which is why we wanted to create something magical here.
“It is so important to recognise the power and beauty of nature in an urban setting and what a privilege it is to bring it back into the city, through the lens of artists imaginations. ‘Making A Stand’ aims to provide a space for quiet contemplation as well as fun and creativity.”
Sustainability lies at the heart of the project, with the co-creators choosing to work with timber felled in the UK due to its low-carbon footprint and the opportunity to repurpose the wood back into the supply chain when the work is dismantled at the end of the year.
‘Making a Stand’, supported by Leeds City Council, Arts Council England, Channel 4 and Leeds Beckett University, will be wheelchair friendly with an audio description which explains what the artwork looks like and what people can experience as they move around it also set to be made available to download from the LEEDS 2023 website.
Coun Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader, said: “It’s tremendously exciting to see the city hosting such a striking and imaginative artwork which will transform a city centre landmark during this spectacular, year-long LEEDS 2023 cultural celebration.
“Our long-term vision is for a cleaner, greener city centre that’s better connected in every way and City Square will play a key role in that. This unique cultural spectacle, which carries an inspiring and positive message about climate change, makes a powerful statement of intent about those ambitions and about the kind of city we want Leeds to be.”
City Square is currently undergoing a major programme of works as part of Leeds City Council’s plans to remove general through-traffic away from the area. The majority of works immediately surrounding City Square are set to complete in time for the artworks official launch.
‘Making A Stand’ will remain in situ for the remainder of the Year of Culture, providing an awe-inspiring backdrop for a programme of activities from yoga and dance to poetry and music.