It’s one of the biggest, brightest and most beautiful statements about Leeds’s super-sized cultural credentials.
And now the talented duo behind the breath-taking new Athena Rising mural have pledged their support to the city’s landmark European Capital of Culture 2023 bid.
The stunningly imaginative 137ft artwork is the tallest piece of street art in the UK, and has been created by muralists Joy Gilleard and Hayley Garner, collectively known as Nomad Clan.
Together, they have transformed the full length of the east face of the Platform building, formerly City House, into a spectacular image of an owl in flight alongside the moon and a crown.
Over the course of the project, Joy and Hayley said they had been thrilled with the response their new piece had received and were now keen to see the city’s vibrant cultural community get the spotlight it deserves.
Hayley said: “What we wanted to do was create something that the people of Leeds could be proud of and which they felt represented them and their city. The response over the last few weeks has been incredibly positive and we’re really pleased with the finished piece.”
Joy, who has previously lived and worked in Leeds, added: “I know there’re a lot or really imaginative and out there cultural projects happening in Leeds but a lot them are underground and might not get the spotlight, so that’s what we were trying to show by creating something on this scale that everyone can see and enjoy.”
With 100 days to go until the Leeds bid is submitted, Nomad Clan have pledged to spread the word about the bid and their creation on their social media using #MakeLeeds2023.
Anyone in Leeds can pledge their support for in their own way using the hashtag, with ideas for pledges including telling 23 family and friends about the bid, sharing details about the bid with everyone on your social networks or downloading a new Maker’s Manual, which includes creative ideas for how to get involved, from the Leeds 2023 website.
Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 independent steering group said:
“The enthusiasm for the bid that we’ve already seen from people across Leeds has been truly inspiring and it’s clearer than ever that there’s an incredible passion for this once-in-a-generation opportunity for our city.
“With the all-important submission date now fast approaching, we’re keen to harness that collective energy and help spread the message that the bid is something that everyone, from every walk of life can be a part of.
“We’d urge as many people as possible to take this chance to get involved, pledge their support and help show the world that culture is at the absolute heart of Leeds and our communities.”
Athena Rising has been created through a collaboration between the artist’s, East Street Arts, LeedsBID, building owners Bruntwood and Network Rail and is part of a citywide street art project called A City Less Grey.”
More details of how to pledge your support or where you can download a Maker’s Manual can be found at: www.leeds2023.co.uk