Liadin Cooke – Spotlight – Our World, Our Crisis

Works on show:
I Learned how to be a Crow and a Pigeon,  2022. Jacquard tapestry

Six walk maps including: Mytholm Bridge, Mirfield, Lepton, Holmbridge, Milnsbridge and Huddersfield; Watercolour on paper

Liadin Cooke is a visual artist from Ireland, now based in West Yorkshire. Her tapestry and associated works on paper were commissioned by Kirklees Museums and Galleries during COVID lockdown.

During lockdowns we were told by the government to exercise outdoors, near our houses. When on her daily permitted walk, Cooke made a pact with herself that if she saw a lane, path, park, wood or green area she didn’t know, she would follow it. Her world exploded – surrounded by nettles, blackbirds, apple blossoms, bees, clover, wildflowers, grasses, frogs and ponds, she wondered where other people walked and what their experiences were. The image woven into the tapestry is made up of different shapes that mirror places walked by the project participants – eac of them a space where birds, trees and other places were encountered. The floating forms in the tapestry are indicators of the worrisome, difficult and isolated yet united experience of our local natural world and our changing perceptions of it during lockdown.

Many people’s experience of our natural world changed considerably during COVID, as we had time to slow down and look at our local green spaces around us. Internationally though, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting limitations on travel and other economic sectors by countries around the globe also drastically changed our natural world as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions decreased enormously within just a few weeks of COVID restrictions.