Anyone who has ventured into Leicester recently will have spotted a number of giant rocket sculptures dotted around the city, including two on the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) campus.
The 8ft hand-painted sculptures are part of LOROS Hospice’s new flagship fundraising event for 2021; the Rocket Round Leicester art trail, which promises to take visitors on a voyage of discovery across the city’s streets and open spaces.
The Rocket Round Leicester trail takes visitors on a journey across the city
As a proud supporter of LOROS, DMU has sponsored two of the 40 sculptures; the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ rocket, which can be found at the Haymarket Bus Station on Charles Street, and the ‘Women Who Clothed The World’ rocket, situated on Mill Lane on the university campus.
Adam Khalifa, a local artist based in Leicester’s St Matthew community, is the man behind the Diversity and Inclusion rocket.
Leicester-based artist Adam Khalifa
“My vision for the sculpture was to design something that encourages more people to celebrate and embrace the diversity in Leicester,” he explained.
“I chose a bold black and gold Arabic, henna-inspired design and gave the sculpture two faces that meet in the centre. I wanted it to have a Yin and Yang effect that shows both inclusivity and exclusivity at the same time.”
The Diversity and Inclusion rocket can be found on Charles Street
Adam, who is currently working as a fine artist at studioAme in Leicester, draws on his own experiences growing up in one of the city’s most deprived areas, to influence his work.
“I grew up in a financially poor environment where crime and social disadvantage was normal. As with most immigrants, hard work ethics and discipline were important family values.
“I use social, religious and political dialogue, to challenge ideas and concepts.”
The Women Who Clothed The World rocket has been designed and painted by Lauren Jefferis and Olivia Collins of Pickle Illustration, a Leicester and Birmingham based creative illustration agency specialising in characterful and engaging visuals.
Olivia and Lauren of Pickle Illustration
Lauren said: “The design for our rocket is inspired by the hosiery factories that led the ‘Leicester Clothes the World’ industrial period from the 1930s until the 1970s.
“We listened to audio files of women who worked in the hosiery factories and then used those stories to bring characters to life on the rocket.”
“We wanted to bring a human element to the design,” said Olivia. “And we are also really influenced by colour so our rocket is very bright and colourful!”
The Women Who Clothed The World rocket is on Mill Lane on the DMU campus
Lauren and Olivia established Pickle Illustration in 2019 with the aim of connecting people in creative ways.
“Whether it’s turning spaces into places, working with community groups and projects, or giving communications a bit of oomph, our goal is to bring people together through art,” said Lauren.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to get involved with Rocket Round Leicester,” explained Olivia. “The trail offers a more accessible way of viewing art – people don’t have to go to a gallery to view art, they can see and interact with sculptures while out and about in the city.”
Lauren added: “People should go and see our rocket, as well as all of the others, because it’s a great way to support local artists but more importantly, it’s a great way to support LOROS.
“It’s also a great showcase of what Leicester has to offer.”
Posted on Friday 6th August 2021