Dali delight for arts fans this summer, as works are sought from local artists
Surreal as it may seem, from June this year residents and visitors to Shrewsbury can expect to come face to face with bronze works by legendary artist Salvador Dali.
The sculptures on loan from custodians The Dali Universe will be appearing as part of the return of the town-wide Shrewsbury Arts Trail, which began as a pandemic initiative in 2021.
Last year saw internationally renowned sculptor Andrew Logan’s four-metre high Cosmic Egg appear outside Shrewsbury Castle and 2023 promises to be just as exciting and eclectic, with around 600 artists set to take part from the neighbouring counties of Herefordshire, Powys, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
Artists from those areas are currently being invited to submit works on this year’s theme of Movement, inspired by Shrewsbury’s connection to the father of English ballet and pantomime John Weaver, who was born in the Shropshire market town in 1673. Selected works will feature in an Open Exhibition split between Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Theatre Severn and The Parade Shopping Centre.
The arts trail was launched in 2021 by local businesswoman Jess Richards (pictured above with Andrew Logan) to boost spirits during the pandemic. But it’s gone on to truly unite the artistic community in Shrewsbury, taking over the whole town with exhibitions across multiple venues including shopping centres, the town museum, coffee shops, art galleries and churches - and even the town park.
There’s also a special exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery featuring some incredible names, including LS Lowry, Dalí, Fabian Perez, Sherree Valentine Daines, Jacob Chandler, Banksy and Damien Hirst.
The bronze sculpture trail, featuring works by Salvador Dalí and Jacob Chandler , will be in place from the start of June, after which the main trail gets under way throughout July and August, when workshops and events will also be taking place across town.
“Shrewsbury is such a brilliantly creative place," says creator Jess. "There were great things going on all over town already - I just thought we’d be stronger together.
“It was first created as the town was coming out of lockdown, to have something lovely to do and inspire us having been shut away. It worked, it grew and built into a wave of positivity that hopefully demonstrates that art has huge power to connect us.”
After successfully bringing Andrew Logan’s Cosmic Egg to the town last year, Jess approached The Dali Universe, custodians of one of the largest groupings of Salvador Dali artworks in the world, and was stunned when they agreed to loan two artworks.
“I couldn’t believe I was even talking to them,” Jess reveals. “Dalí is so iconic. I studied him at school and am a huge fan of Surrealism. He’s one of the greatest artists of all time - it’s unbelievable to think we’re going to be able to appreciate his work up close in person in Shrewsbury.”
The sculpture trail, supported by Shrewsbury BID, will see Dalí`s famous five-metre tall Surrealist Piano displayed outside Shrewsbury Castle, while the impressive Homage to Terpsichore, which depicts the Greek muse of dance and chorus, will probably be on view in the courtyard at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.
Dalí Universe international project manager James Sanders agreed to work with Jess after initial conversations led to a site visit in Shrewsbury.
“The Dalí Universe receives a great many exhibition requests every year,” Says James. “The wonderful, historic city-centre location and the particular relevance of the theme of Movement to Salvador Dalí made this a great exhibition project proposal.
“The concepts of movement and dance are very important and very apparent in the art of Salvador Dalí. He was greatly inspired by these themes - as is particularly evident in artworks such as Dalinian Dancer. The three large Salvador Dalí sculptures - Surrealist Piano, Homage to Terpsichore and Dalinian Dancer have never before been exhibited in the UK. It’ll be very exciting to see them unveiled to the UK public in Shrewsbury.”
The Shrewsbury Arts Trail runs from 1st June-31st August 2023. Submissions for all medias on the theme of ‘Movement’ are invited from Shropshire and neighbouring counties of Powys, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire with a deadline of 1st June. For more information, incuding submissions forms, go to www.shrewsburyartstrail.com, visit the social media pages at @shrewsburyartstrail Insta and #thismovedme Facebook or email email@example.com