Day of the Dead festival to launch in Leeds taking over city for nine days during Leeds 2023
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Leeds 2023 is bringing All That Lives, a festival in honour of the Day of the Dead, to the city centre. Kicking-off on October 27 at Leeds Playhouse, the colourful, playful and contemplative festival has been produced by homegrown artist Ellie Harrison.
Over nine days, this art project will bring to life a series of beautiful immersive environments, live performance, workshops and provocations in an original celebration of those loved and lost.
Artists from Zion Art Studio, renowned Cartoneria paper sculptors responsible for making large-scale Day of the Dead installations in Mexico City, will unveil a major new sculpture in the atrium of Leeds Playhouse, one of a number of host venues around Quarry Hill.
Leeds Playhouse will also host a series of free family-friendly workshops throughout half-term where the Mexican artists will teach the art of papercraft and Halloween mask-making.
There will also be a new exhibition, Lying in State, at Blank Gallery, located at University Centre Leeds which will feature sculpture and installations and explore how different ‘endings’ in our lives are marked.
Artist Ellie began her project as a way to explore her personal experience of loss. It has since taken her all over the world to create a series of moving, funny immersive experiences that delve into the gory and glorious sides of private and public grief in all its manifestations.
Ellie Harrison commented: “The festival is the perfect way to say a final fond farewell to this project, which began as a way of navigating my personal feelings about loss and grief.
“It’s since taken on a life of its own, engaging with more than 50,000 people all over the world and opening up conversations about grief, which have been pulled into even sharper focus after the pandemic.
“I’ve been collaborating with the artist collective from Mexico for a number of years and have learnt so much about their culture and the way they openly celebrate those they’ve loved and lost, rather than just privately mourning them.
“I’m thrilled they’re able to be such a major part of this project during my home city’s year of culture – and I hope people will come along to laugh, cry, and most of all, leave with a lighter heart.”
Many other exhibitions and workshops will also be taking place across the nine days and tickets can be booked via the Leeds 2023 website.