Sheffield's story, past & present, displayed on the streets of the city

Sheffield's story, past & present, displayed on the streets of the city

30 April 2021

High above our city streets, I see it all tonight –
How we came, where we settled, why I belong.
- extract from Sheffield by Warda Yassin

As we emerge from lockdown, Jack Arts, part of the BUILDHOLLYWOOD family, use their city centre sites to present a series of meaningful artworks which celebrate the city, its rich history and its vibrant mix of cultures. Jack Arts worked with photographer, multi-media artist and writer Martin Gray who invited Sheffield poet laureate Warda Yassin to contribute some of her powerful words.

The result is a series of large scale artworks that intertwine stills and quotes taken from Gray’s critically acclaimed short film ‘We Were Never Derelict’ which explores stories from people in the construction team who grew up in and around Sheffield, then found themselves working on the renovation of Park Hill, as well as stories from current residents. The imagery pairs Gray’s work with archival photography, including some from one of the great Sheffield photographers, Pete Hill. Throughout the display are extracts from the poem ‘Sheffield’ by Warda Yassin.

The bold modernist graphics symbolise renewed hope, as well as mirroring the coloured panels of the regenerated Park Hill redevelopment.

Martin Gray says; “These artworks are a tribute to great cities like Sheffield. As we emerge from lockdowns and the world outside our doorstep once more becomes somewhere to share, I don't think many of us take the importance of community for granted. People of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life have been through this very frightening period of our history together, quietly seeing each other through. We know we are more fortunate than so many around the world, as we finally and cautiously walk into the light again and enjoy the diversity that makes a city like Sheffield so vibrant. There is something very powerful about places with personal and cultural significance. Somewhere that the ghosts of the past sit alongside new experiences”

“I hope as people pass by they will take some time to enjoy Warda’s emotive poetry, as well as reflecting on the poignancy in the quotes”

Warda comments; “I’m delighted to be involved with these artworks. The wonderful quotes and imagery encapsulate the spirit of our city.”

The pieces are on display across Sheffield in a large scale street-side gallery format to be enjoyed by a wider audience in a safe and distanced way. You can find them at:

  • 68 Broad Street Park Square
  • 78 Broad St, Adj Ye Old Harrow
  • Arundale Gate Underpass
  • Charles Street
  • Netherthorpe Road
  • YEB Central SS, Moore Street