Artist commissioned to create new feminist public sculpture

17th June 2019

Rachel Reeves – Member of Parliament Leeds West, Leeds Arts University and Leeds City Council are delighted to announce Pippa Hale as the artist chosen to create a new public sculpture to champion the achievements of women in the city of Leeds.

Pippa’s design, ‘Ribbons’, has been chosen in response to a project which aims to redress the gender balance of public sculpture in an innovative way, celebrating the achievements of the women of Leeds with an avant-garde approach.


Pippa said: “I am thrilled that my proposal has been selected by the panel! It’s a huge honour to create a new art work for my home city that celebrates the women of Leeds – and in such a prestigious location too. The work will be a timely addition to the city’s sculpture offer that puts women centre stage, be they historical figures or the unsung heroes of today.

Women make a massive contribution to our city – creatively, economically and socially – and this is an opportunity to celebrate them.”

Four artists were shortlisted and had the opportunity to exhibit models of their proposed designs at the Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University. Visitors to the exhibition were given the chance to contribute to the selection process, providing feedback which was taken into consideration by the judging panel.

The panel were very pleased that the artists had such a diverse and thoughtful approach to the sculpture and how it would contribute to the new public areas and celebrate women across Leeds. The quality of the shortlist was extremely high but Pippa’s concept was chosen unanimously, and was also the favourite with the public vote.

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor, Leeds Arts University said:

“I am delighted that the winning artist is someone who is passionate about Leeds and whose sculpture is not only stunning, but also represents women both past and present with the opportunity to celebrate women who are quietly achieving and contributing to society.

Rachel Reeves, Member of Parliament for Leeds West, added:

“After launching this project over two years ago it’s incredibly exciting to be that much closer to seeing a sculpture that truly celebrates the women of Leeds installed in the city. Pippa’s is a great design that really champions the achievements of women across our city through public art.

I’m delighted that so many people came to see the exhibition and gave their views and backing for this project, and I hope many more will see the sculpture when it is installed next year and work with us as we turn this vision in to reality.”

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“We’re thrilled to be supporting this piece and to see an artist with such a distinctive talent and creative vision becoming part of the city’s cultural landscape.

Leeds proudly celebrates the achievements of the many women whose individual struggles and accomplishments have helped make our city the place it is today and this new artwork will stand as an example of inclusion and progress for future generations.”

The chosen artwork will be located between Leeds City College’s new Quarry Hill Campus and the newly redeveloped Leeds Playhouse, providing a scenic entranceway to the wider area which is undergoing significant regeneration. The sculpture will be sited prominently at the top of a green landscaped, tiered public space visible from Eastgate and The Headrow as part of the wider SOYO development at Quarry Hill, also home to BBC Yorkshire and Northern Ballet

This is a joint project developed by Rachel Reeves (Member of Parliament for Leeds West) in partnership with Leeds City Council and Leeds Arts University. Supporters of the project include Leeds City College, LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District) and Caddick Developments.

The exhibition at Leeds Arts University will remain open until Thursday 04 July, giving visitors the chance to see work by the four shortlisted artists, Briony Marshall, Pippa Hale, Wendy Briggs, and Zsófia Jakab, alongside examples of work from other cities to highlight the broader context for women’s visibility in the public realm across the UK.

Leeds City College