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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre, a series of new exhibitions exploring the city’s past and local artistic talent will be showcased at the centre from 10 June-20 August.

The centre was opened on 27 May 1997 by the then Sir Richard Attenborough (later Lord Attenborough) and Diana, Princess of Wales. In one of the Princess’s last public engagements, she was invited by Lord Attenborough to be the guest of honour at the opening, touring the facilities and meeting with students demonstrating their artwork. Speaking at the time, she commented that, “in this beautiful building I have seen what I thought was impossible.”

Photo Credit: University of Leicester

‘Leicester: Memories of Industry’ represents two new exhibitions exploring the influence of Leicester’s industrial legacy on its urban and natural landscapes. The exhibitions have been developed by local artists Diane E Hall, Graham Ensor and Robert Thacker, alongside sound and visual artist Lucy Stevens. Collectively, their work will aim to reflect the cyclic nature of the landscape, from industrial use to the reestablishment of the natural environment.

This will also include a major off-site piece of land artwork by Graham Ensor; mowed into the grass at Leicester’s Abbey Park, the work will evolve throughout the show before being left to grow and fade until after the exhibition.

Attenborough Arts Centre also opens two more exhibitions next month to continue the celebrations which will showcase the talent of its artists and creative learning students. ‘Alan Caine: Retrospective’ is a retrospective of the Leicester artist, tutor and former Associate Director at Attenborough Arts Centre, while ‘A Brush with Colour’ showcases over 500 postcard-sized works by 50 artists from the centre’s Creative Learning artists working to a brief set by tutor Jenny Grevatte.

Photo Credit: University of Leicester

The centre continues to create countless opportunities for everyone to take part in the arts and prides itself on being accessible and inclusive.

Michaela Butter, Director of the Attenborough Arts Centre, said: “In 1997 we opened our doors to the public, over the last twenty years we have grown and developed as an organisation delivering the arts to staff, students and the wider community in Leicester and beyond – particularly to some of the least able to access art. We have drawn, painted, sculpted, acted, performed, exhibited – and sang and danced our way through people’s lives helping them see and make great art.  We look forward to the next twenty years with gusto.”

The exhibitions will be held in the Centre’s gallery, dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary British and international art, which was opened by Sir David Attenborough in 2016. Doubling the size of the original building, it is the largest contemporary art gallery in Leicester and one of the largest in the East Midlands area.