Leeds 2023: Rothwell logo likened to ‘Voldemort and dementors’ from Harry Potter books

A logo produced as part of Leeds’ Year of Culture celebrations has been likened to the “dementors and Voldemort”, from the Harry Potter books.

City councillor Diane Chapman said she “couldn’t unsee” the likeness between the literary villains and the design of a specially-made motif for the Rothwell suburb of Leeds.

The artist behind the logo has defended its design, saying it shows rhubarb growing in candlelight, in a nod to Rothwell’s heritage and place in the Rhubarb Triangle, alongside neighbouring Wakefield and Morley.

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Mr Khan created logos for all 33 of Leeds’ local council wards as part of the city’s year-long culture festival, with each drawing on those areas’ respective histories.

Rothwell logo Leeds 2023. Created by Keith Khan.Rothwell logo Leeds 2023. Created by Keith Khan.
Rothwell logo Leeds 2023. Created by Keith Khan.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting at which Leeds 2023 was discussed, Liberal Democrat Coun Chapman said: “Once you’ve seen the Rothwell one, it’s rhubarb and a candle, but it’s very much like the dementors and Voldemort.

Chuckling, she added: “And I can’t unsee it. If there’s maybe a bit of recolouring that could be done to make it look a bit more like rhubarb and a bit less like a ghost, that would perhaps be beneficial.”

In the Harry Potter series, the dementors were feared creatures which sucked joy and happiness out of everyone they came across.

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Leeds 2023’s creative director Kully Thiarai said the logos had “generated a real sense of pride in” communities across the city.

In a statement responding to the criticism, she said: “The artist Keith Khan has been working in every ward in Leeds to understand the history and heritage of the people who live right across the city.

“He’s created a new motif for each ward inspired by those stories and we’re really proud of how well received these have been when residents have seen them at our My Leeds Summer events. People are really excited to know that these motifs will be gifted back to their ward as fabric woven by Burberry.”

A statement by Mr Khan, provided by Leeds 2023, said: “Some are design motifs, others more illustrative. Rothwell is a very literal drawing of the specialised growing of rhubarb in candlelight. There is such a strong history of making, agriculture and industry, craft and innovation throughout the 33 wards, and I tried to draw on those.”

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