There is a Henry Moore bronze sculpture in the centre of Leeds. It depicts a reclining woman.
Until last summer I was living in Brixton, in south London, and most mornings I walked past Lambeth Town Hall. One of my former relatives was part of the committee that oversaw the building of the Town hall and in the mornings I liked to day “good morning sir” to him under my breath. I didn’t have a proper sense of him but I suppose I thought of him as avuncular and old fashioned and that he would have been a bit delighted that I lived in his community and that he would have welcomed Brixton as it is now, excited by and interested in how it has changed.
I have extended and adapted this tradition in Leeds. The Henry Moore sculpture is usually the first person I properly address in the morning.
“Hello beautiful reclining woman”.
She is high up in Leeds, on a plinth, and if you approach her she is above you. When I walked up to her in the bitterly cold weather; her bronze was seeming to shine in the cold.
But it is when I am taking the bus home, and as it becomes evening, that I engage the most with her.
My favourite place to look at her is from the bus stop opposite. She can be obscured by a temporary structure in the Square she sits behind, or by a tree or by a telegraph pole, depending on where I stand. I like to walk back and forth and see how she emerges and is then partially hidden from view.
Whatever is happening around her, the Reclining Woman offers me calm silent solid unswerving support.
The joy of public art.