Artists Bobbi Rae, Emma Hardaker and Kasia Breska, join forces with The Works Skatepark Charity and Hunslet’s local community groups this summer in a project funded by Leeds Inspired, to bring a new site-specific mural to the heart of Leeds Southbank.
Not many know, but the site of The Works has lived a number of previous lives before it became the beloved skatepark that we now know. Following the successes of Kasia’s previous collaboration with the Works in 2016; to produce a large scale, indoor mural which celebrates the site’s past and present – Bobbi Rae and Emma Hardaker now join the team. Interested in exploring the relationship between The Works’ heritage, and its current use; this summer, these international artists worked together with Hunslet’s local communities, to produce an artwork that is inspired by the social and physical evolution of the area.
The design draws upon ideas and visuals created in workshops with older residents from the Hunslet Remembered group which is facilitated by South Leeds Live at Home and Hunslet Library and also sessions for younger members at The Works Skatepark, to get different perspectives on the area and the building.
This aims to demonstrate the notion of collaboration and community that has been prevalent throughout the history of The Works’ site – from its use as a factory, a carriage works and now, a skatepark and alternative learning facility. The mural celebrates the differences as well as the commonalities of the site’s evolving social history. Through collage and symbolism, the artists aimed to create a mural that resonates with the local residents - by employing a narrative which unifies local communities; that celebrates the past and the present. The mural looks to resonate with the South Bank initiative by contributing vivid colour to its cultural strategy, raising awareness of South Bank with residents and making links from our cultural heritage to the future arrival of HS2.
“With the mural we managed to reach out to Hunslet community and had an opportunity to chat with people who knew The Works as an engine factory, who passed on their knowledge and memories to us. We worked together and learned from each other. We are pleased we could paint in such a location, putting our creative knowledge and skills into changing the surroundings, allowing the artwork to bring forward colours, shapes and what comes with it, curiosity and inspiration.”
Kasia Breska (Artist)