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Yorkshire Sculpture International Summer 2021

Posted by: Sam Pegg
Yorkshire Sculpture International Summer 2021 supporting image

Yorkshire Sculpture International announces summer 2021 programme of commissions and projects across Leeds and Wakefield

Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) is pleased to announce its Summer 2021 programme featuring new commissions, talks and collaborative projects in Leeds and Wakefield from 10 July – 19 September 2021. Spanning the four partner venues – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) – the programme will celebrate Yorkshire as the home of sculpture in the UK. 


YSI has commissioned the presentation of a new work by SHEZAD DAWOOD (b. 1974) and a new film by ARIEL RENÉ JACKSON (b. 1991) as well as new works by four early career artists based in Yorkshire: AKEELAH BERTRAM (b. 1990), CLAYE BOWLER (b. 1995), NWANDO EBIZIE (b. 1982) and ASHLEY HOLMES (b. 1990). The commissions, which will all feature a digital element, will be unveiled at the partner venues and in outdoor locations. Alongside the commissions, YSI will host a live and digital public programme of talks throughout the summer.


YSI Producer Jane Bhoyroo says: ‘Following a really challenging year we are delighted to be able to support artists and present a series of new commissions this summer with our partner galleries. Our summer programme builds on the success of the sculpture festival in 2019, it continues our commitment to working with artists from across Yorkshire and introducing audiences to new developments in sculpture and highlighting once again how much exciting activity is happening in the region.’


London-based SHEZAD DAWOOD will present a major new mixed-reality digital work, ‘Concert From Bangladesh’, to mark the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. Dawood has created a virtual stage for a concert expanding on Ravi Shankar and George Harrison’s 1971 ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ which was in aid of the relief effort and refugee crisis. The project updates the original concert’s concept, where Shankar and other South Asian performers were relegated to support acts. Instead, Dawood has collaborated with Bangladeshi music producers, musicians and performers to develop ‘Concert From Bangladesh’, which will showcase talent across varied Bangladeshi musical traditions, from mystical Baul singing to experimental electronica and Dhaka hip hop. The work will be presented outdoors at YSP on 1 August 2021, and in Leeds on 18 September 2021 at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall in partnership with Hyde Park Picture House’s On the Road programme. ‘Concert From Bangladesh’ is a project by UBIK Productions and Samdani Art Foundation in collaboration with Shezad Dawood and in partnership with YSI and Chisenhale Gallery. It is supported by the British Council Digital Collaboration Fund.


Texas-based ARIEL RENÉ JACKSON will present the trailer for their new film ‘A Welcoming Place’ in July, as part of an online, in-conversation event in July 2021. In their work, Jackson employs a meteorological aesthetic as an allegory for oral narratives.

‘A Welcoming Place’ will showcase six conversations with Black and Brown Austinites, highlighting each individual’s relationship to the city of Austin, Texas. Excerpts from each conversation will form a video aided by visuals of the Austin area, and an animation made from archival film footage about ‘the weather balloon’ -

a carrier for a mechanism that collects meteorological information. The project is a co-commission between Women & Their Work and YSI and the full film will be shown in January 2022 in Austin.


Over the past 12 months, YSI has supported 22 artists based

in Yorkshire through the YSI Sculpture Network. This summer, four artists from across the region will exhibit their new commissioned works. Leeds-based AKEELAH BERTRAM will present work from their long-term project, ‘The Return’, in the form of an interactive sculpture installation at YSP. For the installation, the artist will use creative technology to question identity narratives by reflecting on the lived experiences of the African diaspora and what a world would look like without borders. The project is created by the artist and produced by York Mediale. Supported by Arts Council England, The British Council, Invisible Flock, University of Leeds and East Street Arts.


Huddersfield-based CLAYE BOWLER is developing a new performance with Henry Moore Institute which will be filmed and premiered at Leeds Art Gallery in September 2021.

The performance will be the culmination of a five-year durational performance around the subject of top surgery, ‘Measured Transition’ 2016–2021, which began with Bowler shaving his head after first going to his GP to ask to be referred to an NHS gender identity clinic. He has grown his hair since that first appointment to visually depict the wait it takes to get surgery within UK healthcare. This performance will mark the end of Bowler’s wait, which has been four years, nine months and three days. He will use a surgical scalpel, the same as one used in the surgery, to methodically cut off his hair whilst an audio of questions asked within the gender clinic is played into the room.


Todmorden-based NWANDO EBIZIE will present an immersive, binaural sound work, ‘The Garden of Circular Paths’. The work will be a post-Borgesian labyrinth which will take viewers on a sonic art journey through the life and work of Barbara Hepworth. It will be heard through headphones at The Hepworth Wakefield, featuring composed music and field recordings from places around Yorkshire and beyond which have a connection to Hepworth. The installation is designed to be experienced whilst walking through Hepworth’s retrospective at the gallery, allowing visitors to view it through Ebizie’s lens as a Yorkshire- dwelling Afrofuturist.


At Leeds Art Gallery, Sheffield-based ASHLEY HOLMES will present ‘Distend’. This immersive installation will expand on Holmes’ interest in sonic fiction and the deconstructive practices of dub music and remixing to explore cultural memory. The work will reference the earthquake and landslides that struck Port Royal, Jamaica in 1692, reimagining the submerged landscapes and mythologies, connecting Afrodiasporic aural traditions and the natural world.


Coinciding with the summer programme, the 2021 partner venues are host to several sculpture exhibitions and commissions. HENRY MOORE INSTITUTE is presenting group exhibition ‘Portable Sculpture’, along with a new commission by Rafael Pérez Evans, ‘Handful’. LEEDS ART GALLERY is presenting ‘Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers’, an exhibition by Zadie Xa. THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary, is presenting ‘Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life’. YSP is presenting ‘Joana Vasconcelos: Beyond’; ‘Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days’ and the Arts Council Collection’s group exhibition ‘Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945’. YSP will also host The Oak Project’s first artist commission, ‘Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds’, by Studio Morison.


YSI is also working closely together with Leeds 2023 as the city takes an exciting step forward in developing the programme for the international Year of Culture in 2023.






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