Summer of Love is a series of events and projects taking place across Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) that celebrates human relationships, understanding and love between people. Taking inspiration from the current exhibition Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958–2018, the programme runs from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox.
As well as sparking moments of pure, joyful connection, Summer of Love will investigate the complexities of love and community: how we relate to one another, to ourselves, and to our environments.
Throughout his career, Robert Indiana made works that alluded to his sexuality as a gay man, but due to the criminalisation of homosexuality at the time these references had to be circumspect. Elements of the Summer of Love programme focus on LGBTQIA+ artists and consider how different and nuanced aspects of queer identity are expressed and represented in a contemporary context. An integral part of the programme is focused engagement work with a local Barnardo’s Positive Identities LGBTQIA+ youth group, led by YSP Learning.
In the Bothy Gallery, On Queer Ground (9 July – 4 September), presents powerful and poignant works by artists who explore the queer body and identity in relation to landscapes, both real and imagined. The exhibition features work by Claye Bowler, Whiskey Chow, Sadé Mica, Ro Robertson, SHARP, and RA Walden. Robertson’s sculpture Stone (Butch) (2021) will also be shown, set in a new dialogue with parkland surroundings following its recent display as part of Sculpture in the City in London. Welcoming people of all ages, a range of events throughout the summer includes family celebration days in July and August, creative workshops and family walks on the theme of love.
A number of other projects touching on themes around human connections, rights, prejudice, access, love and loss will unfold across the Summer of Love. Featured artists include Roger Hiorns, Thahmina Begum, Jordan McKenzie, YARA + DAVINA, and Wakefield-born Jason Wilsher-Mills, whose outdoor display Jason and his Argonauts in Love features an enormous inflatable sculpture.
Visual artist and illustrator Soofiya has been selected from an open call for an LGBTQIA+ artist to create a vinyl mural in the YSP Centre restaurant that celebrates the themes of Summer of Love, drawing together the many strands and sentiments of the programme.
(LGBTQIA+ is an acronym that encompasses people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning, intersex, asexual; the + refers to the many identities of sexuality and gender that are not cisgender and heterosexual.)