public art leeds

‘Legs Walking,’ a vibrant sculpture by Kenneth Armitage, has been a symbol of artistic evolution in Leeds, marking a new chapter in public art. As the sculpture prepares to depart City Square for a new location, it leaves behind a cultural imprint that will pave the way for future artworks to enrich the cityscape and stimulate meaningful dialogue.

What is the significance of ‘Legs Walking’ sculpture in Leeds?

‘Legs Walking’ by Kenneth Armitage is a vibrant sculpture that marked a new era of artistic expression in Leeds, symbolizing the city’s commitment to public art. As it departs City Square for a new location, it leaves a cultural imprint and paves the way for future artworks to enrich the cityscape and stimulate cultural dialogue.

The Legacy of ‘Legs Walking’

Leeds city centre has been home to an iconic piece of public art that not only captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike but also signaled a new era for artistic expression in the urban landscape. ‘Legs Walking’ by Kenneth Armitage, a sculptor born in Leeds and recognized for his contributions to 20th-century art, has graced City Square since its installation in 2018. Loaned to the city by an anonymous private collector, the vibrant and dynamic sculpture has been a topic of conversation and admiration, adding a touch of whimsy and movement to the historic square.

For six years, passersby have enjoyed the sculpture’s presence next to the Mill Hill Chapel. However, the time has come for ‘Legs Walking’ to move on, with plans to relocate it to another public space in Yorkshire. While its departure may leave a temporary void, the city cherishes the cultural imprint it leaves. In tandem with ‘Both Arms,’ another of Armitage’s creations displayed in Millennium Square’s Mandela Gardens, ‘Legs Walking’ stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to public art.

The removal of ‘Legs Walking’ coincides with a bold initiative by Leeds to further embed public art into the city’s fabric. This continuing commitment is evident in the recent additions of awe-inspiring installations that celebrate the city’s rich history and community narratives.

The Rise of New Installations

Leeds’s artistic narrative continues to unfold, with exciting developments that promise to enhance the city’s cultural tale. One of the standout additions is Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Hibiscus Rising,’ a striking piece that honors the memory of David Oluwale. Oluwale’s tragic story is a poignant chapter in Leeds’s historical tapestry, and the installation in Aire Park serves as a powerful commemoration.

The public art scene in Leeds is also looking forward to the debut of ‘Ribbons,’ a forthcoming work by Pippa Hale. Strategically positioned near Leeds City College’s Quarry Hill campus, the sculpture will feature five steel ribbons, each inscribed with the names of nearly 400 inspiring women from Leeds’s history. This celebratory piece will highlight figures like Isabella Ford, Nicola Adams OBE, and Gertrude Paul, thereby immortalizing their contributions to the city’s heritage.

In addition to these installations, a thought-provoking mural at the St Anne’s Resource Centre addresses the critical issue of violence against women and girls. The city’s local fauna is also receiving artistic acknowledgment through a series of murals near the Leeds waterfront. These creations not only beautify the city but also serve as a catalyst for important societal discussions and a connection to the natural environment.

A Canvas for Cultural Dialogue

The evolving public art landscape in Leeds is more than an aesthetic enhancement; it’s a platform for dialogue, a mirror of societal values, and a celebration of local stories. With the impending adjustments to City Square and the city’s eagerness to engage in creative utilization of the space, Leeds is poised to foster an even more vibrant and inclusive artistic atmosphere.

Councillor Salma Arif, representing Leeds City Council, has expressed immense pride in having showcased ‘Legs Walking’ and gratitude to the sculpture’s owner for their generosity. The councillor also emphasized the importance of the artistic legacy left by the sculpture, paving the way for future generations to experience world-class art that resonates with the heart of Leeds.

As Leeds continues to enrich its public spaces with meaningful art, the community eagerly anticipates the conversations and inspirations that will stem from these visual narratives. Despite the removal of ‘Legs Walking,’ the city remains steadfast in its pursuit of cultural enrichment, ensuring that every corner of Leeds reflects its unique spirit and storied past.

  • ‘Legs Walking’ by Kenneth Armitage symbolized a new era of artistic expression in Leeds, highlighting the city’s commitment to public art.
  • The sculpture, on loan from an anonymous private collector, will be relocated from City Square to a new public space in Yorkshire.
  • The departure of ‘Legs Walking’ coincides with Leeds’ initiative to embed public art throughout the city, with new installations like ‘Hibiscus Rising’ by Yinka Shonibare.
  • ‘Ribbons,’ a forthcoming sculpture by Pippa Hale, will honor the contributions of inspiring women from Leeds’s history.
  • The public art scene in Leeds serves as a platform for cultural dialogue, celebrating local stories and fostering an inclusive artistic atmosphere.

By george