Why this grey heron mural is turning heads on the Leeds waterfront

Two new artworks have appeared on the Leeds waterfront as part of efforts to create a tourism trail.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 4:06 pm
The Grey Heron is designed to be submerged and then reappear as the river level changes.

The pieces, funded by the Waterfront Enhancement Fund, have taken up residence near the Royal Armouries and further down the river along the South Bank.

The Grey Heron is designed to be submerged and then reappear as the river level changes.

It was delivered by Canal Connections in partnership with Yorkshire Design Group and social enterprise IVE.

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The installation includes eight ‘heroes’ all who have significant links to the city. These include the father of the waterways John Smeaton, prominent civil rights activist Leonora Cohen and Yona Knight-Wisdom, the Leeds born and bred diver, who represented Jamaica at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Through projects such as the Flood Alleviation Scheme, improvements to Leeds Bridge and the Waterfront Enhancement Fund, we continue to invest to ensure the success of the waterfront, and the ongoing regeneration of the South Bank puts the river firmly at the centre of our growing city.

Artist Peter Barber, who painted the Grey Heron, said: "The grey heron was chosen as a subject for the mural because several of these birds are now regularly sighted slightly further down the river, just beyond the Royal Armouries. The presence of these birds demonstrates the health of the waterway running through the city. The mural represents the first step towards what is hoped will become an active art and sculpture trail along the waterfront”.

Six more schemes have also been recently approved, which are set to be delivered over the coming months. The newly awarded grants include:

* A project to light up Leeds Minster;

* Two works of art which will appear at this year’s Light Night;

* ‘Get Set Leeds’ - a season of sport-based activities;

* Improvements to the water taxi stops;

* Enhancement of the Leeds Wall artwork near the canal towpath

The Waterfront Enhancement Fund is open to activities which will enhance the waterfront by making it more accessible and attractive, with projects needing to be at least match-funded by those applying. For more details on the winning schemes, and how to apply, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/wef