Yorkshire Sculpture International this year will see world-class artists who will form part of the inaugural event taking place across Leeds and Wakefield this summer in what organisers hope will be a ‘year of sculpture’.

It will feature sculpture by artists from across the world including two major new commissions in the open air by Huma Bhabha in Wakefield city centre and Ayşe Erkmen in Leeds city centre.

Work by leading international artists, including newly commissioned work and key sculptures from their careers, will also form one exhibition across four world-renowned galleries. The first artists announced include Rashid Johnson (the Henry Moore Institute), Wolfgang Laib and Tau Lewis (The Hepworth Wakefield), David Smith (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Nobuko Tsuchiya (Leeds Art Gallery).

The free 100-day event across the two cities – often dubbed the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – revolves around the idea that there is a basic human impulse to make and connect with objects and will run from 22 June until 29 September 2019.

Jane Bhoyroo, Producer of Yorkshire Sculpture International, said: “With temporary new commissions in city centres and exhibitions in world-renowned galleries, Yorkshire Sculpture International is a major new addition to not just the cultural calendar, but Yorkshire’s tourism as a whole. It will enhance our county’s already outstanding cultural offer, which is drawing the attention of increasing numbers of national and international visitors.

“Yorkshire Sculpture International has mass appeal – from art lovers to people who simply want to be wowed by something amazing and challenging in front of them. An extensive public engagement programme will support artistic talent development in the county and introduce new audiences to sculpture. People of all ages will have the opportunity to connect with sculpture, inspiring them to think about, talk about, and make sculpture.”

Yorkshire Sculpture International builds upon Yorkshire’s rich history as the birthplace of pioneering sculptors, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and as the home of the unique consortium of galleries and celebrated sculpture collections.

Yorkshire-based artists are integral to the project and five artists working in sculpture will be supported through Yorkshire Sculpture International’s Associate Artist Programme that will award grants of £7,500 for selected artists to develop their practice. Expressions of interest for participating in the programme is open. Also open is the opportunity for ten artists from Yorkshire to be involved with the Engagement Programme, which will see artists creating collaborative work with schools and communities.

Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “From its historical links with the great pioneers to its contemporary position as the home to the very best galleries and exhibitions spaces, Yorkshire is synonymous with sculpture.

Yorkshire Sculpture International will only further cement that reputation, as the world learns just how brilliant the arts offering is across the county. The quality of the artists exhibiting will put a visit here at the top of every art lovers to do list this year, but the accessibility of the event means it will be a massive draw to the public, as a whole. I can’t wait for the artistic spotlight to quite rightly be shining brightly on Yorkshire.”

Yorkshire Sculpture International has raised more than £1.4 million, including a National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England and regional investment from Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds.

For more information visit yorkshire-sculpture.org

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