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A photograph of Lucy + Jorge Orta's performance piece, Symphony for Absent Wildlife in which the artists are wearing grey coats and animal masks.

Lucy + Jorge Orta, Symphony for Absent Wildlife, 2014. Live performance for the Nuit Blanche Calgary, Canada. Photographer David Bickerstaff

Lucy + Jorge Orta exhibition at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester

Location: Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester - Click for map

30 January 2016 to 24 April 2016 Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm. Sunday 12pm - 4pm. Closed Bank Holidays

Lucy + Jorge Orta’s solo show brings together new work never shown in the UK. Exhibition focuses on art that explores issues around environmental change and its social implications. 

Lucy + Jorge Orta produce artwork that questions the social and ecological sustainability of the planet. Over the last two decades the artists have worked in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, from the Antarctic to the Amazon. The exhibition is part of the official opening ceremony of Attenborough Art Centre’s new £1.5 million gallery, one of the largest contemporary art spaces in the region and a major new asset for Leicester. 

The artists’ practice is driven by extensive research into the forces shaping our environment: the availability of food and water, the destruction of our rainforests, species and habitat loss, and global climate change. Lucy + Jorge Orta’s interdisciplinary approach combines techniques from sculpture, installation, architecture, fashion, design, and performance art to generate thought-provoking approaches to social and ecological dilemmas. 

This new solo exhibition brings together artwork made over the last two decades, including Lucy + Jorge Orta’s characteristic social sculptures: assemblages of functional objects such as customised buoyancy aids, water flasks, and individually made sleeping bags, as well as drawings and wall mounted vitrines. The exhibition also features Symphony for Absent Wildlife a brand new multi-media and multi-sensory installation commissioned by the University of Leicester. This work involves a wind-orchestra of 20 musicians ‘Spirits’ dressed in a tailcoat and a sculpted mask of an endangered woodland creature, fashioned from reclaimed felt blankets. Each masked musician holds a hand-carved wooden bird whistle, to play a symphony of birdsong, which builds up to intensify the feeling of stepping into a fairy tale world, inhabited by fictional creatures. The performance ends abruptly plunging the performers into silent darkness.Lucy + Jorge Orta’s exhibition broadens Attenborough Arts Centre’s commitment to supporting socially purposeful contemporary art practice, as well as reinforcing the University of Leicester’s commitment to discovery-led research and education. 

Exhibition events:
An opening preview will take place on Friday 29 January, 6pm – 9pm. Tickets are FREE, but advanced booking is strongly advised at
As part of the exhibition, the Attenborough Forum: Migration will take place on Thursday 25 February, 6pm – 9pm at Attenborough Arts Centre. The forum hosts an evening of talks and discussions drawing on the work of Lucy + Jorge Orta and their specific interest in migration. Tickets are FREE, booking advised. 
As part of the exhibition, Attenborough Arts Centre offers FREE lunchtime guided tours the first Wednesday of the month, FREE artist-led family workshops 1pm-3pm on Saturdays, and a FREE special day of family activities, Family extravaganza, on Saturday 30 January, 12pm - 4pm. For more information please visit

The Attenborough Arts Centre has been supported by the Breaking Barriers Appeal, which aims to help fulfil Richard Attenborough’s original vision to improve access to the arts for all. For more information about how to donate, please contact Ave Vinick at (0116) 252 2176 or or make a gift online at 


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