National art exhibition celebrating rail travel comes to Leeds railway station: Louise Allen

Tuesday 17 Aug 2021

National art exhibition celebrating rail travel comes to Leeds railway station

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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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