A new art installation has been unveiled in the underpass below Rishworth Road as part of Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme. 

The commission entitled Tessella has been designed by Dewsbury based visual artist Saba Rifat who took inspiration from the historical and urban brickwork, paving, stain glass windows and stone carvings in the town centre. 

Saba Rifat worked with design students from Kirklees College and held engagement events with the general public to help develop her ideas. 

Tessella, which is a feminine Latin word to describe square tiles of stone, glass which are used in mosaics, was employed as the process for generating design ideas to create the surface pattern for the underpass walls. 

The final piece includes over 3,000 bespoke, colourful tiles! Saba worked in collaboration with the expert team at Digital Ceramic Systems based in Stoke on Trent to transform her design using their experience and computre software. They are specialists in modern ceramic print technology and one of only a handful of companies in the world that provide permanent digital ceramic printing solutions working nationally and internationally.

The installation was completed by Wakefield-based tiler Steven Roberts – Steve and his team had the difficult job of taking Saba’s drawings, selecting the appropriate tiles and creating Tessella.

The new tiles have been placed on top of the previous artwork which was created by Kirklees College students several years ago which have been professionally photographed and archived.

Councillor Eric Firth, Cabinet Member for Transport and Dewsbury Ward Councillor, said: 

There is a large amount of footfall through this underpass making it a very popular route for access into the town, so it’s important that it is kept in good condition and is welcoming for the locals and visitors alike.  The artwork has been cleverly designed to fit in with the architecture of Dewsbury, as well as being fun and thought provoking. It’s fantastic to see the underpass is now more appealing, I am delighted with the outcome for Dewsbury.” 

Kate Watson, Programme Manager for Dewsbury Creative Town, added:

“It’s amazing to finally see Saba’s work in situ and hope it provides users of the underpass with a bright and colourful welcome to the town. Saba has worked extremely hard to create an environment which is unique to Dewsbury and celebrates the very best of our town.”

Artist Saba Rifat, added:

 “This commission has been a huge undertaking, but I’m delighted to see it finally complete and there for everyone to enjoy. The design process for this project has been extremely methodical and time consuming as well as intuitive and fun so it’s really rewarding to see the finished piece.”

The Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme is a £200,000 initiative funded by Kirklees Council. It is produced by arts organisation Beam and includes a range of permanent and temporary public art interventions at various sites across Dewsbury. It also aims to provide residents, businesses, and community groups with an array of opportunities to engage with art and get involved in the commissioning process. 

Photo credits (c) Lucille Moore

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