New artwork unveiled for Leeds city center park

Commissioned by Leeds City Council, 25-year-old artist Melody Sutherland has produced a series of murals for Merrion Gardens, some of which were unveiled on Saturday.

Together with her mother Nicola, who is also an artist, they interviewed people between the ages of 10 and 26 about their lives and their hopes, after being tasked with finding people from marginalized genders.

The portraits of two of his interviewees feature on the murals in the gatehouse, while square meter portraits of the other eight will soon be displayed on the site’s perimeter railings.

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Melody Sutherland and her mother Nicola.

Benches and litter bins around the site – located between Merrion Street and New Briggate – have also been given eye-catching paintings.

An information panel is to be installed and will display a QR code linking to a YouTube documentary about the project and including excerpts from Melody’s research interviews.

Melody, who is from Reading but now lives in Leeds, said: ‘It has been hugely rewarding to work with and I’m really pleased with the results – I hope it will make Merrion Gardens a more welcoming and inclusive space for everyone.

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Mélodie with one of her subjects, Nagina Nesar Ahmed, and her portrait.

“A big thank you to everyone who has been supportive, including of course the young people who have spoken with such honesty and emotion about their life experiences.

“Talking with them and having the opportunity to tell their stories was incredibly inspiring. It’s great to see people who have already found themselves in the background of society instead of being at the center of a project like this. -this.”

“I’m so happy with it, it’s more than I could have hoped for.”

The scheme is the latest improvement to the area, which has included the construction of a new children’s play area at Merrion Gardens, picnic benches have been set up in St John’s Park, while a permanent traffic-free space has been created on New Briggate by pedestrianizing down the street.

Councilor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council‘s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: ‘We want to make sure that spaces like Merrion Gardens are engaging and appealing to everyone in Leeds.

“The new artwork looks great, it adds a real splash of color to a much-loved downtown spot.”


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Edward L. Robinett