In summer 2019, the first Yorkshire Sculpture International took place in Leeds and Wakefield. It was the UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival, a series of exhibitions, international commissions, events and learning programmes not seen on a scale anywhere else – with sculpture in its broadest forms on display across the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and outdoors in Leeds and Wakefield.
Artist Phyllida Barlow was the provocateur for the festival and presented a series of statements. One of the most compelling of these – “Sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms” – was explored through the exhibitions and events. The programme brought together artists who share an interest in harnessing the cultural histories and physical properties of the materials they use. At the heart of the free 100 day festival was the idea that there is as basic human impulse to make and connect with objects, and that making sculpture is part of human nature.
Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 featured major new commissions in city centre locations; Ayşe Erkmen made a work responding to the Central Court at Leeds Art Gallery, Huma Bhabha presented her first UK public commission in Wakefield. Tarek Atoui worked with local communities on performances in Wakefield.
The Yorkshire Post, 19 October 2019
The Times, June 24 2019
National Geographic Traveller, Tuesday, 9 April 2019
The Times, 7 December 2018
Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 had an extensive engagement programme, working with schools, universities, communities and artists.
We explored sculpture with people of all ages, connecting them with the materials and processes used in making sculpture today and showing how sculpture can be found all around us.
Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 would especially like to thank our major funders Arts Council England through the National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence grant, Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and University of Leeds.
We are also extremely grateful to Reed Smith, the Henry Moore Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Freelands Foundation, Ernest Cook Trust, ArtUK, Leeds City College, Wakefield College, LeedsBID, Victoria Leeds, John Lewis & Partners, Leeds, Leeds Hotels and Venue Association and Welcome to Yorkshire.
We also thank Terra Foundation for American Art, Hauser & Wirth, Japan Foundation, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Fluxus and Culture Ireland for their support of the exhibitions.
Special thanks to all the artists who contributed their work to the programme and the Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 team and volunteers.
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