Leeds artist launches 'who's been sitting in my chair?' challenge ahead of Museums and Galleries' 200th birthday

A Leeds artist has launched a challenge dubbed 'who's been sitting in my chair?' ahead of Leeds Museums and Galleries' 200th birthday.

'Who's been sitting in my chair?'

Helen Gibson, known as The Perky Painter, is challenging Leeds residents to explore Leeds Museums and Galleries to find a favourite chair from the vast historic collections.

From the treasure trove of chairs in the Discovery Centre and the seats of Thwaite Mills House to the ornate chairs of Lotherton Hall and Temple Newsam - there is a diverse array of styles.

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The chairs have been used by a variety of people throughout history and people are now being encouraged to seek out a chair that appeals to them personally.

The chair should then be captured using photography and drawing and shared on social media using #mychairleeds.

The Perky Painter will then use still life drawing techniques to capture the specialty of the chair and use imagination to draw historic sitters.

She hopes that the #mychairleeds online community will allow people to see chairs through someone else's eyes, and will also allow them to be enjoyed by those unable to attend Leeds Museums and Galleries.

The artworks will then be composed into a short film to celebrate the Leeds Museums and Galleries collection and upcoming 200th birthday.

Helen said: “Over lockdown we have all grown (maybe too) familiar withthe chairs occupying our homes, here we transport ourselves back in time through the collections to discover the history and beauty in the everyday.

"It’s very important to me to make this project as accessible and inclusive as possible so that any resident of Leeds can take part creatively or enjoy the collection as part the audience online.”

She has produced a downloadable drawing guide and artist video with tips for sketching on the go.

The Perky Painter is also putting on free online drawing workshops for children and families on Sunday, July 4 between 10am and 11am, Wednesday, July 7 between 7pm and 8pm and Sunday, July 18 between 10am and 11am.

Catherine Robins, project curator at Leeds Museums and Galleries said: "The 200th Birthday is about celebrating Leeds Museums and Galleries, its collections and what these mean to the people of Leeds.

"We’re thrilled to have been able to fund the Who’s Been Sitting in my Chair project as part of our grants scheme and can’t wait to see people’s creations.”