On October 9th 2015 the second and final exhibition of the Genera Project opened on Light Night in The Arts Space at Leeds Central Library. Light Night this year was a enormous opportunity for us to promote our artists and the work that we do as The British Art Show opened in Leeds the same night, attracting thousands of visitors to Leeds city centre.
A further opportunity to show off our installation happened the previous night when the British Art Show welcome meeting was also held in The Arts Space, and we were thrilled to have this chance to show off the work by our artists to important visitors to the city.
Thanks to funding from Leeds Inspired (part of Leeds City Council) and Leeds Community Foundation Trust, various workshops throughout the summer led up to this point. The exhibition on October the 9th was the culmination of lots of hard work and ideas from local artists, members of the community, Inkwell artists, volunteers and students. Both Genera exhibitions (I and II) were a response by Inkwell artists to the collection of 16th – 18th century horticultural books from The Gott Bequest housed in Leeds Central Library. You can read more about the Gott Bequest on our blog here.
A team from Inkwell made up of students, self directed artists and the media team went to work on deciding what our installation and exhibition would look like this year. After much discussion, we opted for a very ambitious design that would challenge our various skills in media production, visual art and construction with the focal of the exhibition being a 4.5m wide geodesic dome.
Partly inspired by The Eden Project, but also our passion for sustainable living and eco buildings, the geodesic dome encompassed all these elements. Domes are structurally much stronger than conventional wood and mortar built structures, they creates less waste and have reduced construction times; thus, making them safer and more cost effective than traditional structures. In addition, domes use less energy to heat and cool than conventional structures and offer a more spacious feeling than the common square box. Even more benefits include eliminating corners; therefore, contributing to improved air circulation, increased natural lighting and resistance to disasters.
Our 4.5m dome was a light filled structure that was itself every bit eco friendly – being built from recycled cardboard and tracing paper that was covered in intricately beautiful botanical ink drawings. An inky floral projection and sounds accompanied the central dome installation. A wall of translucent prints were curated into a panoramic photograph installation that was lit from floor level. The prints showed images of ceramics, paintings, sculpture and drawings and included all the work created in the various workshops throughout the summer.
Approximately 8000 people visited the library on Light Night and it has been estimated that 2000 visitors came to see our botanical illuminated geodome. We are absolutely thrilled that the general public gave us such positive feedback for the work and the project overall.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the artists and volunteers involved for their hard work and creativity and Leeds Inspired and Leeds Community Foundation Trust for funding this project and all the workshops. Thank you to all the staff at The Art Library in Leeds Central Library for their support and letting us have access to the very special collection of books that inspired this whole series of works. Last but not least, thanks to all the visitors who came out in their thousands to see what we had created.
We look forward to creating another installation for Light Night 2016!