Next Stop for the Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme

Award-winning artist Adrian Riley is the latest to add to the Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme, his installation ‘Walls Have Ears’ gives a voice to the town.

What is the installation?

Installed on the side of Dewsbury bus station on 7 May, ‘Walls Have Ears’ features eight brightly coloured metal panels each containing phrases from the people of Dewsbury. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Adrian asked residents about their hopes and dreams, this artwork reflects their thoughts about the town and their own lives. Adrian has taken further inspiration from the town itself, using fonts found in the lettering on different buildings around the town.

As the bus station is also positioned next to the ring road, Kirklees Landscape Architects worked together with Adrian and Kirklees Air Quality Monitoring Team to try a cutting-edge solution to improve air quality. The backs of the panels have been fitted with a new textile ‘Breath’ which removes pollutants in the air caused by traffic. Monitors have also been installed which allow for comparison of air pollutant levels.

This is the latest commission as part of the £200,000 Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme, funded by the council as part of the Dewsbury Blueprint initiative to honour the heritage of the town and make it more attractive.

David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth and Regeneration, said:

“We’re excited to see the Creative Town Arts Programme continue to take shape. Public art like the Anthony Gormley sculpture, WORK and Adrian’s installation are creating a strong visual identity for Dewsbury. Public art is a great way to breathe new life into the town as restrictions lift and more people make their way back to the town centre.

It’s wonderful to see the community involvement in the programme, it makes the resulting artwork so much more personal. This latest installation by Adrian is a true representation of not only the place but the people of Dewsbury.”

Adrian Said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic delayed production of the artwork – and it’s interesting to read resident’s thoughts now and realise that our thinking as a community probably hasn’t changed, just brought into sharper perspective by the events of the last 12 months. People still want the best for the town and each other, we still worry for our families and friends, we value the things that bring us closer together and long for the things that keep us apart to disappear.

We’re all in need of good news right now and I hope that’s how people see this artwork. There are things people said that will bring a smile, some that will probably prompt a few knowing nods of the head, and some that I hope will give hope to the local community. As one of the panels quotes – “there’s a lot of love for Dewsbury yet”.”

More information

As part of the Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme, several other artists have recently been appointed to undertake various commissions across the town. These include Rob Pearson and Kelly O’Reilly who will be working on a temporary mural for Dewsbury Arcade as well as Andrew Warburton who will be producing a textile installation in partnership with Woven in Kirklees. Trafford Parsons and Emmeline North have also been commissioned to produce two contemporary murals in prominent locations in the town centre.