When the artist Juliana Bellente left Leeds last year she took most of her belongings with her, except her bike. She also left East Street Arts with a challenge, to create a new bike for her. Her name is the inspiration for an eclectic new arts programme in the city, Juliana’s Bike.
Juliana’s Bike takes place from July 2013 on the streets of Leeds, from the outskirts, suburbs, and inner city areas through to the city centre. This trailblazing programme includes workshops, exhibitions, games, and a smorgasbord of artistic interventions.
Featuring Burn the Curtain’s The Adventures of Don Quixote by Bicycle, Blast Theory’s Rider Spoke, bicycle polo leagues, chariot racing, Grace the Pedalo Swan, a custom-built ‘bike hotel’ on three wheels, a pedal-powered caravan cinema, an overnight mass cycle ride to Hornsea from Leeds, Souleaters BC bike club, new commissions from artists including Dave Lynch and Tony Tomlin, Pencilboxgirl cycling across Scotland with her Border Collie Laika in a dog trailer & blogging on the way, or even Wakefield’s Prince Albert pop-up pub serving pints from a bike – this exhilarating list of social and interactive events is guaranteed to get local people involved and on their bikes!
As part of the city’s preparations for 2014’s Tour de France, Juliana’s Bike forms part of Bike Fest and the Grand Départ Cultural Festival. Key themes include bicycle fashion in the 21st century, performance and live art responding to pedal power, and inventions to make life more interesting through bicycles. East Street Arts and partners will explore the potential of cycling through a range of activities including transportation, sport, interaction and other imaginative happenings in the city.
Artist Juliana Bellente recently moved back to Argentina after living in Chapeltown for seven years. An active member of East Street Arts, one of her achievements in Leeds was to learn to cycle. Her interests focus on the social production of art and how art contributes to community developments, improved communications, exchanges and self-expression.
There are also two other famous cycling Julianas: Queen Juliana often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman, she is known for riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air, inspiring the world famous Netherlands bike culture. Juliana Buhring was the first woman to circumnavigate the world by bicycle in 2012, spending 152 days on her bike. The distance travelled was the same as the circumference of the earth. Her journey took her across the United States, Australia, New Zealand Asia and Europe, 24,900 miles in total.
Leeds City Council, Leeds Inspired, Arts Council England, Space 2, Lille Council, Cherry Kino, Restrap, H20, MenCap, Charles Hunt, Peddlers Arms, Leeds Met University, Paper Girl, Blast Theory, Burn the Curtain, Woolgather, and Compass Live Art.
Grand Départ Cultural Festival:
The world’s greatest cycle race – the Tour de France – starts in Leeds on 5th July 2014 bringing millions of fans to the Yorkshire roadside to cheer on the champions of the sport. It is the first time Le Tour has visited the north of England having previously only made visits to the south coast and the capital. The Grand Départ Cultural Festival takes place throughout Yorkshire in the lead up the event. Juliana’s Bike is one part of this on-going cultural programme and forms part of Bike Fest, an umbrella festival of arts, culture and cycling in the city.
It was lovely to get a glimpse into what our Netherlands-based residency artists have been up to during their stay with us, at their sharing event on Friday. Chiara Tammaro, Tom Dijkstra and Sijas de Groot stayed with us over the past two weeks at Convention House, and over their time discovered Leeds, studios in the city, and local communities.