Art Exhibition - the subversion of the Beatitudes


Artists from Leeds and beyond are joining with St Edmund's, Roundhay this month for a unique exhibition exploring the reversed promise of the Beatitudes.

Entitled ‘World Turned Upside Down’, the exhibition will feature work from a range of creatives alongside prints made by local schoolchildren. It will include sculpture, painting and textile artworks, and will explore some of the themes and issues raised by Christ’s words from the Sermon on the Mount.

Poet Chris Goan, who has helped develop the idea, says: "Eight simple statements – the Beatitudes contain something immensely powerful and dangerous. They are words that invert our power structures. They are subversive, insurgent, hope-filled. They sing to us of the best that we might become, despite everything that gets in the way.

"We have invited artists from a variety of faith and secular traditions to respond to those counter-cultural aspirations, and to imagine the little revolutions that might result from seeing the world turned upside down."

Exhibition curator Si Smith explains the unlikely inspiration for the exhibition: "At Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, the Beatitudes were read. That struck me as a truly dissonant moment and – whether deliberate or not – a pretty direct rebuke to the values that he represents. Because whilst we’ve succumbed to the belief that it’s the richest, the strongest and the most powerful who’ll always and inevitably triumph, the message of the Beatitudes is that in the end, it is actually the meek who’ll inherit the earth.

"The idea of re-imagining a world turned on its head really appealed to me, and it’s something that our contributing artists have enjoyed grappling with too - I think that the work they are producing will make for a really interesting and thought-provoking exhibition."

The artists include: Leeds artists Gillian Holding and Jay Gadhia, Bradford’s Eva Mileusnic, York-based Canadian sculptor Ian Kirkpatrick, and painter Mark Cazalet from London.

The exhibition opens with a preview event on 20 October (6.30-9pm) and will run from 21 October to 15 November at St Edmund's, Lidgett Park Road, Roundhay LS8 1JN.

The show is  curated by Leeds-based artist and illustrator Si Smith. Si has exhibited and curated work in St Edmund’s and has curated shows at the Left Bank venue in Burley and the Greenbelt festival.

World Turned Upside Down has been generously supported by Leeds Inspired (part of the city’s cultural programme that celebrates arts events and projects throughout the year, supporting high quality, accessible cultural experiences for Leeds’ residents and visitors.

For more information, contact Si Smith,, 07833 308971

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