In September I have been commissioned by East Street Arts (together with Leeds BID) to paint a mural at the oldest street in Leeds. The mural is an important project reflecting the history of the street, the history of Leeds and its people. As an artist who hasn't been born in Leeds it is a big honour to be part of the project where I can give my own insight into the city's life and contribute to its creative development.
But that's exactly why Leeds is such a special place - it allows newcomers like myself to settle down and bring their experiences and share their culture and expand the city's cultural growth.
There are dozens of different nationalities living here, sharing spaces, communicating and exchanging cultural knowledge. I think it is fantastic!
The mural's design is based on several elements. A big part of it is informed by the city map plans across centuries (13th till now), using outlines of the buildings and spaces as the part of the composition. All the map elements are taken specifically from the Kirkgate area. The second part of the design is based on an alphabet, where eighteen of different types of script are used (like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, Russian, Greek, Hindu, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjab, Thai). The symbols from the alphabet from various languages describe one word: 'art'. They are then taken apart, mixed, and composed into the image , where each part is 'occupying' certain element of the space.
Kirkgate as the oldest street in Leeds signifies the beginning as well as the continuation of the city's development. I believe that the cultural diversity is what creates Leeds and what is its incredibly valuable asset.
The draft below shows how all the elements will fit together to create a balanced composition. The length shown is approximately one third of the total length of the mural.
Jenna, Alain, Nuala and Jamie helped with painting - great skills and big enthusiasm from their side made my day very happy! Thank you guys :-)
Half way there :-)
Finished on the 27th of November!
The project has been a fantastic opportunity to build a dialogue between artist and a viewer, where questions were asked from both sides. It appeared very early in the conversations how important is the 'balance' in the public space, where architectural and human element create a unique 'habitat'.
I am pleased to say that most of the dialogues have been scribbled down and will hopefully be published and accessible for everyone to read.
In the meantime I invite you all for the 37m walk across Kirkgate with my artwork as now part of the space:
https://instagram.com/p/BNXMA2ggsPP/. < CLICK ON THE LINK!!