Leeds lets loose its cultural creations with backing of Corinne Bailey Rae and Kaiser Chiefs star

Local artists and creators have already started to let culture loose in Leeds after it was announced that the city will unlock opportunities for every child and resident in all 33 wards to be part of a 365 day cultural celebration.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:45 am

It comes as Leeds 2023 vowed to carry on its culture campaign, despite Brexit putting an early end to the Leeds bid to be crowned the European Capital of Culture for 2023.

After UK cities were forced to pull out of the running, Leeds vowed to continue the work it had already put into the bid and now that is being backed from grassroots projects to international stars.

A launch was held yesterday at Left Bank Leeds via video and featured a taste of what is to come in 2023.

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Letting culture loose in Leeds with a launch at Left Bank Leeds was L-R Top Row - Ryan, David Hamilton, Kully Thiarai, Malika Booker, Nick Ahad; L-R Bottom Row Mya Craig, Inder Goldfinger, Jamie Jones Buchanan, Keira Martin.

Kully Thiarai, creative director and chief executive of LEEDS 2023, promised at the live stream that "it won't be something that the city forgets in a hurry."

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Leeds is ready for its time in the limelight

And, thanks to Arts Council funding there is a whole range of products in the pipeline and some that were unveiled yesterday to coincide with the launch.

One is a photography project based in Burmantofts and Lincoln Green led by photographers Benedict Philips and Jonathan Turner. They have been taking a custom-made mobile dark room to Burmantofts and Lincoln Green to take portraits of everyday people living in the community as part of their project Lens Lab Leeds.

They take one photograph using a Victorian wet plate process and develop it on the spot, and take another with a super high resolution digital camera. The participants are posted a print of both photographs which they can keep for years to come. The next and final Lens Lab Leeds session is at Boston Towers in Lincoln Green on Thursday, 10am – 4pm.

Independent station Sable Radio hosted a specially curated show yesterday live from grocery store and restaurant Eat Your Greens. Guests included mainstays of Leeds’ cultural scene such as Sayang (co-founder of Flesh in Tension and House of Flava) and Lorina Gumbs (co-founder of Leeds-based carnival company AnonyMas), as well as artists from further afield like New York graphic designer and archivist Raver Jinn, and Borneo based DJ and co-founder of queer creative platform NON NON NON, Wanton Witch. Conversation covered the

function of art in queer rave culture to the histories of carnival in Leeds and Sheffield.

A new sculpture, created by learning disabled artists from arts collective and charity Pyramid in collaboration with artist Emma Hardaker, is going to be sited in Meanwood, where

Pyramid began more than 30 years ago. The exact location of the sculpture and when the public can see it will be announced soon.

Artists are also working with the LEEDS 2023 team on projects that will be finished in time for 2023.

They include, Smeaton 300, a lasting tribute to the work of pioneer John Smeaton and the city’s civil engineering history and legacy; a new sculpture from Turner Prize winning artist Yinka Shonibare to commemorate British Nigerian and Leeds resident David Oluwale; The Bus Pass Project with the Performance Ensemble, working with national and international artists and community participants from across the city — all aged over 60 and Leeds’ People’s Theatre from Slung Low, a new show working with hundreds of local citizen performers.

Internationally acclaimed singer songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae and Simon Rix, bassist with Kaiser Chiefs, winners of Brit awards and Ivor Novello awards, have backed the LEEDS 2023 plans by signing up as patrons of LEEDS 2023, joining patron and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Corinne Bailey Rae said: "I'm so excited to be a patron of LEEDS 2023, showcasing all the best our city has to offer in the arts and culture. I'm so proud of our city."

Simon Rix said: “I’m backing LEEDS 2023 because I’m proud to be from Leeds and I want the world to see what a great city it is and all it has to offer creatively. I think LEEDS 2023 can help grow, connect and consolidate our city’s creative side, encouraging people to work together towards a common aim and see Leeds’ profile grow as a unique hub for culture.”

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