Ian Kirkpatrick’s new public sculpture may look like a giant robotic rabbit, but it’s actually a serious meditation on the history of British multiculturalism in the age of Brexit.
Standing three metres tall, and made of stainless steel, the work depicts early colonisations of Britain (via Roman mosaics, the Bayeux tapestry and Anglo Saxon manuscripts) alongside imagery from Leeds’ industrial and modern history – where Kirkpatrick currently resides.
Its surface also references tapestry patterns from the diverse communities living in Harehills, where the sculpture is located.
“I wanted the sculpture to remind people that Britain is a country defined by migration – both ancient and new,” says Kirkpatrick, himself an immigrant from Canada. “But I also wanted it to be fun and colourful – something that would make people smile as they walk past. I hope the artwork creates a positive energy in the neighbourhood and helps bring people together, especially during this divisive period in British history.”
The sculpture, titled Lepus (aka the ‘Hare of Harehills’) was commissioned by Leeds City Council and is managed by East Street Arts, a Leeds-based contemporary arts organisation. Check out more of Ian's work at iankirkpatrick.ca.
All images courtesy of Ian Kirkpatrick