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Community arts exhibition celebrating Leeds’ “amazing” local heroes enters final week

The Superheroes of Leeds exhibition at The Tetley features everyday heroes.

A community arts project celebrating the unsung heroes of everyday life in Leeds has entered its final week.

After a successful nine months, The Tetley’s exhibition Superheroes of Leeds is closing on December 12.

Superheroes of Leeds consists of 235 voices, testimonies and drawings, championing the efforts of people who have done heroic acts throughout the pandemic – from binmen to teachers, supermarket workers and firefighters.

Programme coordinator, Toby Kilby-Pollard, said: “When you come to the exhibition, you get an idea of the breadth of amazing stories and acts that have happened in Leeds in the last year.

“It’s amazing to see off the back of the pandemic some amazing stories. It’s a really positive feel about the year we have had.”

The Tetley, one of Leeds’ most recognised art and cultural venues, conceived the project in March 2021, by asking people who have been inspired by their own ‘hero’ to share their story in any way they choose.

The exhibition features many local heroes, including eight-year-old James, who made headlines back in April for selling his paintings to help pay for life-saving treatment for his friend. The Tetley now stocks his cards in The Tetley shop.

Eight-year-old James with his artwork.

Alongside the exhibition, The Tetley ran a public outreach programme with school and communities, consisting of family film screenings in collaboration with Hyde Park Picture House and an In-Conversation With… event with disabled artists, Jess Thom and alabamathirteen.

“One of the many points of the pandemic is that we recognise one another, and I think that is really what this exhibition really was about,” said Toby.

“I think that is a really positive thing to take from the year we have had, and even though the exhibition is going to come down, it’s something we can leave spirited about.”

View of the exhibition from the second floor of The Tetley

Superheroes of Leeds, located on The Tetley’s second floor, is ending this week in order to undergo a transformation for the opening of The Tiny Tetley Studio in February 2022 – an open access space for children aged from birth to three years.

The Tiny Tetley Studio will be open Wednesday-Sunday and open to parents, carers and guardians to bring children along and use the space all day for free.

To catch Superheroes of Leeds before its closure, visit in person at The Tetley on Hunslet Road in Leeds’ south Bank area.

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