Tuesday 17 Aug 2021
National art exhibition celebrating rail travel comes to Leeds railway station
Network Rail’s 'Wish I was There' exhibition, which showcases work by young artists is at Leeds railway station until 22 August.
The exhibition features art by winners of a Network Rail competition for work by the next generation of artists that celebrates the return of rail travel. Network Rail asked art students across the UK to create work that reflected the places they had missed travelling to during the pandemic – whether it be a town, city or beach, a shopping street or even just a pub or a park – a place that meant something special to them.
100 submissions were selected for the exhibition, judged by a panel that included artist Jacqueline Colley, who teaches at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Winners include Leeds art student Louise Allen, whose work represents the Yorkshire Coast at Bridlington. Other artists in the exhibition, which will travel between major mainline stations in the country, include Mariya Darr from Bradford, and Shakiba Rabi and Elbo Parkes who are both from Huddersfield.
Nick Cooper, Station Manager for Network Rail, said: “It’s great to see this exhibition come to Leeds, and to help remind us of some of the wonderful places the railways can take us. The pandemic and lockdown has meant that many of us have missed out on trips, whether to see family and friends, to an event or just to see some of the beautiful scenery our country has to offer. It’s great to be able to have this exhibition to welcome passengers back to the station, and to Leeds.
“The railway network has been vital in keeping the country running during the pandemic, including by keeping key workers and freight on the move, and it will play a significant part in the country’s economic recovery. We’re working hard to make sure it is safe for people to travel now that restrictions have been lifted.”
Winning artist Louise Allen said: “Leeds is about as far from the sea as it is possible to get in the UK, and I really missed the coast during lockdown, so as soon as travel restrictions were lifted we went to Sandsend, Seaham, Cresswell and Dunstanburgh to walk on the beaches. It was cold and bracing back in the spring, a perfect antidote to being cooped up inside during lockdown.
“I had read about the ‘Wish I Was There’ challenge from Network Rail, and that motivated me to develop some prints from my coastal photographs.
The installation will be in place from 16 August to 22 August in the Wellington Quarter North Concourse, by the dinosaur exhibit.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.