Elephant in the Room
Elephant in the Room (or as it might also easily be called Elephant on the Roof!) was inspired by one of the stories uncovered by volunteers at our East Leeds Fire Heritage Group whilst investigating the roll call of previous shouts. In the 1980s the station received a call asking for assistance to bring water to an elephant on Halton Moor who desperately needed water. Initially, the fire fighters on duty thought it was a prank call, but it soon became evident that there was indeed an elephant in need as part of a circus touring at the time.
We worked on the project over 6 months, starting in Spring 2022, by introducing the project to Space2 community groups. We worked with partners, artists and community members to co-produce a multi-faceted project and evening event on 12th November 2022 that led into the exploration of metaphorical elephants in the room when it comes to the climate crisis. We were able to hold a space for conversations to flow around sustainability, a space to reflect on the theme, and a chance to widen participation in this topic area.
During the project we worked with the following, Space2 groups: Young People’s Art Club (Space2Create); Heart to Art; Voices Heard Poetry group; People’s Poetry group; Clothing Rebellion & People’s Pantry; Gipton Growers; Fire Engine Heritage Group; Space2Sing – Adult Choir.
We worked with the following artists, Kevin Hickson, Michelle Scally Clarke, Natalie Davies, Tony Stephenson, Jelena Zindovic, Jane Morland, Christella Litras and Sally Nutman, who worked with the groups mentioned above to create performance and exhibition work, including a life size Elephant made of willow, that was housed on the roof of the Space2 annex building.
Local artist, Tony Stephenson, created a giant willow lantern elephant, which was installed on to the roof of the Space2 annex. It had a film projected on it during the evening, and proved very popular with people attending the event.
Heart to Art group created multi-media art work on the theme with another local artist, Kevin Hickson, who made it into a film, which was then projected onto the front of the Old Fire Station building.
Young People’s Arts Club worked with Jelena Zindovic to create an exhibition for our Old Workshop Space, as part of an on-going commitment to host regular visual art exhibitions in Gipton. The exhibition also featured work from the Heart to Art and People’s Poetry groups.
Photographs by Kevin Hickson and Coralie Datta