Little gems in Little Germany
A mini labyrinth of art pieces has sprouted up on doors and archways in Bradford’s Little Germany lately, causing members of the public to take a double glance as they walk down the cobbled streets.
Little Germany Action Ltd, which includes residents and businesses, is behind the initiative and has been setting up an ‘evolving arts and heritage trail,’ which includes original works by Bradford artist Moonie.
He views the whole area as a giant artistic canvas and his bold painting of Samson, on Church Bank opposite Bradford Cathedral, already attracts attention.
Group members are funding the scheme supported by a District Grant from the Rotary Club of Bradford Bronte.
Dave West, who lives in Little Germany and chairs the group, says: “We have plans to extend the trail in the future, enabling visitors to discover the heritage of this special area, which has more listed buildings per square mile than anywhere else in Britain.
“Our objective is not only to attract more visitors but also to encourage people and businesses to move into Little Germany, to share in its historic buildings and support its cafes and shops.
“This will be a pilot scheme for a combined arts, culture and heritage initiative which highlights existing and new installations and brings them to life with Bluetooth beacon technology linked to a smartphone app.
“Some of the art works will remain on display indefinitely while others will be changed from time to time to generate ongoing visitor interest. The pilot is in place and the project will continue to evolve and expand with more opportunities for Bradford based artists.
“Many visitors to The Broadway will enjoy their shopping experience unaware that an area of rich industrial and social heritage is just around the corner. We aim to persuade at least some of them to appreciate the architectural grandeur of Little Germany.”
The buildings in Little Germany date back to 1855 and are the legacy of Jewish merchants from mainland Europe who spent large sums of money constructing large and looming warehouses for the storage and sale of their goods for export.
A large proportion of the merchants came from Germany – hence the name Little Germany. Constructed between 1855 and 1890, the unique collection of 85 buildings still remains and makes up part of what is now a popular and trendy residential and business area.
Moonie, who describes himself as a ‘situational visual artist,’ is delighted to be commissioned by the group to feature his art.
“Little Germany is my canvas – and what a canvas,” he says. “I like to see a space and create a work of art for that space. I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to one form of art.
“I have ideas for more three dimensional works which I hope to fulfil in the coming year, so watch this space.”
Along with the fresher artworks, there are also older ones to admire.
Timothy Shutter’s iconic ‘Grandad’s Clock and Chair’ from 1992 is an amusing interpretation of a mill owner’s office with a chair, mirror and grandfather clock.
The artwork harks back to days gone by, but the swinging pendulum of the clock indicates that time will not stand still for anyone.