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A Fish On A Bike – Land Art for the UCI Championships

In Innovation, Land Art by JamieLeave a Comment

Whilst Sand In Your Eye are mostly known for sand drawings and sand sculptures, we are always looking for new ways to make our art and have been developing land art for a few years now. 

As keen cycling fans, we’re really pleased that Yorkshire has become such a mecca for cycling races ever since the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France set off from Leeds. Yorkshire’s hills and dales are perfect for elite races and we now have our own Tour – the Tour de Yorkshire, which we have made street art for in the past.  

land art yorkshire
Riding towards the river Aire

This year the UCI Road World Cycling Championships was hosted by our home county, with one of the stages leaving Bradford, passing through the city and the outskirts and then heading up to the Yorkshire Dales. Kirsty at Bradford Council contacted us to see whether we could make some land art to celebrate this stage. She was inspired by the work of the Aire Rivers Trust and their initiative DNAire to clean up the river Aire and make it a better habitat for wildlife and reintroduce Atlantic salmon to the river. Volunteers for the project have been removing rubbish that has fallen into the river or been dumped and they wanted to use the trash they had collected as part of the urban art. What better metaphor for this particular land art than “the river Aire needs rubbish, like a fish needs a bicycle”?

land art uk
The DNAire team

We travelled over the hill to Shipley and set up on a beautiful sunny morning on the banks of the river Aire to start the 50m land drawing. The Sand In Your Eye team divided up the tasks to complete this complex piece of environmental art; Jamie, took charge of the giant salmon, Rich got on with the lettering promoting recycling, Liz and Lou sketched out the body of the race bike. We used the same paint that groundskeepers use to mark out football pitches to paint the outline of the fish and the bike and to add the texture and shading. It must have been an strange sight to the dog walkers and people enjoying the park with us all wandering around, wearing backpacks full of paint and wielding spraying lances, in fact we found it quite funny ourselves and couldn’t help but hum the Ghostbuster’s theme tune as we worked.  As the sun set, all that was missing was the rubbish!

The day before the competitors came along the route, Sand In Your Eye and the volunteers from the Aire River Trust and a van full to the brim of bin bags, mattresses, mops, stepladders and perhaps appropriately bikes that they had pulled out of the Aire and laid it out to highlight how much gets dumped. It now looked like the salmon was cycling over the waste and it was spinning in the fishes wake. Cycling away from the polluted past into a revitalized, cleaner, greener future!

land art bradford
A birds eye view

This was such a great, creative project to be a part of and we’re really proud of it. It just goes to show how effectively art can communicate important messages. It was really cool to see it on the footage of the race as the crowds lined the route and the cyclists whizzed along, past the land art, but the cherry on top of the cake was to be nominated for this year’s Welcome to Yorkshire World Championships land art competition. We were pleased to be in the running at all but at the ceremony last month we were chuffed to come in third behind the fantastic Baildon and Thorne artworks.

With our win at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards earlier this year for Pages of the Sea, 2019 is turning out to be a championship year for us!

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