Herculean Labours Exhibition

Herakles Exhibition

Opening of an exhibition linked to the Leeds Hercules project and Leeds Classics.

This week sees the opening of the exhibition The Labours of Herakles at Leeds City Museum, based on the work of contemporary New Zealand print-maker Marian Maguire. The series of lithographs and etchings takes an image of Herakles from ancient Greek art and superimposes it onto nineteenth-century New Zealand landscapes, making witty comment on European contact and colonisation.

The exhibition runs from Friday 23rd January to Sunday 15th March. It displays Marian’s prints alongside a selection of artefacts from the Leeds collections, both antiquities depicting Herakles and Maori artefacts. The prints are thus contextualised as belonging to both a 2,500-year-old tradition of reinterpretations of the hero, and an on-going discourse concerning northern European colonialism.

The exhibition is accompanied by series of talks discussing the prints and the images from which they take their inspiration, by children's activities and by a workshop on printmaking for adults. It builds on two well established cooperative ventures between Leeds Classics and the City Museum, the monthly Classics in Our Lunchtimes lecture series and an annual Light Night event.  It is also associated with Stage 2 of the Leeds Hercules Project, led by Emma Stafford (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, Classics), following on from the 2013 conference Hercules: a Hero for all Ages. It is supported by Creative New Zealand, the University of Leeds (Arts Engaged), Leeds City Council and Arts Council England.

After Leeds, a version of the exhibition will be exhibited at the Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology, before travelling to Munich, Würzburg and beyond.

For details of the exhibition, see the Leeds City Museum website.

See here for details of the Hercules Project.