Yorkshire Sculpture International
A festival of sculpture across Leeds and Wakefield.
Yorkshire Sculpture International was an ambitious sculpture festival on a scale not seen anywhere else before in the UK.
Spanning 100 days (22 June – 29 September 2019) over four galleries and in two cities, the free festival incorporated a series of exhibitions, international commissions, performances, events,and learning programmes.
Sculpture in its broadest form was on display across major Yorkshire galleries – the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – and outdoors in Leeds and Wakefield.
This first festival built on Yorkshire’s rich history. It is the birthplace of pioneering sculptors, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and the home of this unique consortium of galleries and celebrated sculpture collections.
Reflecting the curatorial theme put forward by British artist Phyllida Barlow – that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the artforms’ – the 100-day festival responded to the idea that there is a basic human impulse to make and connect with objects.
“Hosting the first Yorkshire Sculpture International has shown what can be done on the national and international stage, demonstrating our city’s ability to showcase the work of renowned, international artists in a new, inventive and accessible way...”— Kully Thiarai, Creative Director of Leeds 2023
Members of the public gazed in awe at the enormous ‘Hymn’ sculpture by Leeds-own Damien Hirst placed in the middle of Briggate; another of Hirst’s works stopping people in their tracks was the exquisite ‘Anatomy of an Angel’ in Victoria Leeds.
Yorkshire Sculpture International builds on the growing profile of Yorkshire as a cultural destination and on the ambition behind the Leeds 2023 bid. The programme explored what it means to create sculpture today.
It is hoped that the festival will grow into a regularly recurring event, next planned to be part of Leeds 2023.