The £4.3m Queens Gardens refurbishment is set to feature a number of permanent art installations that will celebrate and bring to life Hull’s rich maritime past.
The installations, from internationally-renowned and award-winning artists Katayoun Dowlatshahi and Heinrich & Palmer, will include a new seating area in the Peace Garden, integrated artworks on new amphitheatre-style seating, as well as maritime-inspired installations and lighting along the boundary of the gardens.
Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for regeneration and economic investment, said: “As part of the refurbishment of Queens Gardens, we wanted to use the regenerated space to celebrate and tell the story of our rich maritime heritage.
“These creative and engaging art installations will help tell our story, ensuring that our rich history plays an important part in the bright future of our city.”
A programme of artist commissions runs throughout the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project, which includes the extensive enhancement and improvement works to Queens Gardens.
In Queen Gardens, the site-specific artworks will create focal points and new features, and will be integrated in sign-posting, lighting and the landscaping across the public space.
The Peace Garden area at the eastern end of the Gardens was originally established in 1986, the UN’s International Year of Peace, and has been associated with the Quakers ever since, who hold annual meetings there to commemorate Hiroshima Day.
Dowlatshahi has consulted with the Quakers to create a significant new feature from a sympathetic redesign of this area, incorporating an informal space for contemplation and seating.
The scrimshaw steps design, which will form part of a new amphitheatre-style seating area, is derived from elements of the Maritime Museum collection.
“Scrimshaw” is a folk art rooted in the whaling trade, and describes scratching or carving designs into by-products of whaling – teeth, bone, baleen – and rubbing soot or another types of pigment into the carving to create the design. Sailors did this during their long periods of waiting for a catch on their voyages.
Dowlatshahi proposes to collage and scale up fragments of images directly from selected items within the scrimshaw collection across sections of the steps.
Dowlatshahi also proposes to install a design in the central area of the gardens, referencing historic voyages of ships that have sailed from Hull, the navigation equipment and charts that they used and the species that they hunted and fished.
Artists Heinrich & Palmer, who in 2018 wowed the city with their installation Ship of the Gods, as part of Urban Legends: Northern Lights by Absolutely Cultured, have been commissioned to create installations for the boundary of the Gardens which will include maritime-inspired markers, based on the design and dimensions of the original bollards on the dock edge when the Gardens were once Queens Dock.
Heinrich & Palmer will also be producing designs for artistic lighting for the refurbished space.
The artistic installations and designs form part of a planning application regarding the Queens Gardens refurbishment, which is being submitted by Hull City Council.
The £4.3m Queens Gardens refurbishment will improve accessibility and visitor flows, deliver structural repairs through rebuilding the retaining walls, introduce bespoke pieces of public art, improve biodiversity and regenerate a much-loved open space.
The project will make the gardens fit for purpose, futureproofing the space and its ability to host large-scale events. The history of the gardens will be incorporated in its design, reconnecting it with the origins of the space as a former dock.
The Queens Gardens refurbishment is being funded by Hull City Council.