A rendered image of plans for the Annie Morris Sculpture outside the West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield. It is a colourful stack of different sized circles.

First Look at Sculptures for New City Centre Trail

R Hollis

First Look at Sculptures for New City Centre Trail

Posted in Industry

Wakefield Council is revealing an exciting first look at some of the artwork to feature in a new sculpture trail which is set to guide residents and visitors on a journey of discovery through Wakefield city centre.

Awarded over a million pounds in funding from the DCMS, Wakefield Council will deliver this free, outdoor public art trail of unique sculptures, created by five leading British artists, making the city centre their permanent home. The individual and inspiring artworks reflect the district’s fascinating heritage and will be proudly displayed at key points across the city, including Wakefield Westgate, Wakefield One, Cathedral precinct, The Springs and West Yorkshire History Centre.

One of the sculptures has been designed by internationally renowned artist Annie Morris whose multi-disciplinary practice, encompassing sculpture, tapestry, painting and drawing, draws on both personal experience and the history of art. Her 3.5m bronze sculpture of stacked spheres is typical of the work for which she has become well known and respected and will feature outside the West Yorkshire History Centre.

Annie Morris said: “Wakefield is a very special place to me as I had my first museum solo show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2021. For me, Wakefield is an area bound together by a cultural consciousness, which is reflected in the strong sense of community, belonging and togetherness. The West Yorkshire History Centre holds historical archives including births, marriages and deaths of the West Riding of Yorkshire. These are symbolic themes echoed in my practice from vulnerability and strength, grief and renewal, hope, uncertainty, rebirth and creativity.”

Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We’re delighted to have such an internationally renowned artist in Annie Morris create artwork for our city centre. Our district already has an amazing heritage of sculpture and I know that this new sculpture trail will give a real sense of pride in our fascinating history and heritage and connect key points of the city together. The images of the pieces are truly striking, and I cannot wait to see them brought to life in our city centre, each with their own story to tell. We hope that by bringing public art to life across the streets of our city centre, we can attract even more visitors to our wonderful district.”

Another of the sculptures featured on the trail, at Wakefield Westgate, is ‘Gathering’ by Halima Cassell. Halima has strong links to Wakefield, receiving her first major commissions in the city before developing a successful career. Her sculptural work also draws strong influence from Barbara Hepworth.

At the Cathedral precinct, the ‘Amazonian Caiman God’ by Jason Wilsher-Mills will be displayed. Inspired by the painting of Charles Waterton and the Cayman, the love story of his mum and dad and his own connections with the city. Jason is disabled and provides an inspirational figure, from his start in Wakefield to achieving international acclaim as an artist.

The project has been developed under the new Public Art Framework, which was approved by the Council’s Cabinet in July 2022, and will support the delivery of exciting and engaging public art commissions across the district. It also forms part of the wider City Centre Masterplan, which sets out how the city centre will be transformed into a vibrant city for the future and an even better place to live, work, visit and invest.

The sculptures are expected to be in place by Summer 2023, subject to planning permission.

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