A stunning new sculpture by an international artist has been installed in Wakefield city centre.
Artist Huma Bhabha swapped New York for Wakefield after creating the new work called ‘Receiver’ 2019, which has gone on show outside Wakefield Council’s County Hall near Wakefield College for three months.
It’s all part of the free to see Yorkshire Sculpture International – the UK’s biggest sculpture festival this year – and backed by Wakefield Council, Wakefield College, Arts Council England and Leeds 2023.
Cast in bronze, ‘Receiver’ 2019 is a human-like form which began as a sculpture carved from everyday materials including Styrofoam and cork. Almost all the artist’s work is figurative. She is inspired by science fiction and how it relates to actual events, alongside ancient vocabularies and artists including Picasso and Giacometti.
In 2018, the artist installed ‘We Come in Peace’ on the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, overlooking the famous Manhattan skyline.
Bhabha said: “I hope visitors have as much enjoyment seeing this sculpture as I had creating it. Like all my work it is intense, but not unsettling. I feel my work is actually quite comforting and friendly. It’s great to be part of Yorkshire Sculpture International’s first edition. Sculpture should challenge and also be available to all with art outdoors in the public realm making an important contribution to this debate. I hope people in Wakefield and beyond enjoy my new work in Wakefield’s civic quarter.”
Cllr Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council, said: “Wakefield District has a long history as the birthplace and inspiration for world-renowned sculptors, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. The area’s galleries have created an international destination for sculpture. Wakefield is now one of the best places to experience sculpture in the UK. We are therefore pleased that this piece, Receiver, by Huma Bhabha has been commissioned by the organisers. I am in no doubt that it will be a talking point whether from the point of view of the use of everyday materials to create the sculpture or her unconventional and cross-cultural approach and concepts. I invite the public and art students, in particular, to come view Receiver and the other pieces in the three-month long festival.”
Sam Wright, Principal of Wakefield College, said: “We are incredibly excited about this unique opportunity for our students, 80 students across all levels of Art and Photography have taken part in the project creating sculptures influenced by the work of Huma Bhabha. This experience has been inspirational in motivating our students to become artists themselves and developing their passion for the Arts and they have truly loved the project.
“Our partnership with YSI has been wonderful so far and we have been very lucky to be able to participate in this exceptional project. The new sculpture in the heart of the city is a stunning piece and will no doubt inspire both our learners and the people of Wakefield.”
Jane Bhoyroo, Producer of Yorkshire Sculpture International, said: “Thanks to the backing of Wakefield Council, Wakefield College, Leeds 2023 and Arts Council England, we are making this entire festival a reality. Huma Bhabha’s figurative sculptures have a timeless quality and appear to make connections between different civilisations, often mixing animal, human, vegetable and machine. I think this new sculpture commission for Wakefield by one of today’s leading artists will be a talking point and inspirational, and an amazing addition to the city centre for the next three months.”
Four world-class art galleries – The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery – which make up the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle have joined forces to create Yorkshire Sculpture International.
Left to right – YSI-Jane-Bhoyroo-Wakefield-Council-Cllr-Jaqui-Speight-Sam-Wright-Principal-of-Wakefield-College.