Over the years many cities have commissioned various plain white fibreglass structures, gotten different artists to paint or customise them, and plonked them all over the place on a trail. CowParade started it, and others have followed, including Larkin with Toads in Hull, Superlambananas in Liverpool, gorillas and later Gromits in Bristol, rhinos in Chester and many more in different cities across the world.
Until now Leeds has never participated, but this Christmas it unleashed 14 fibreglass reindeer across the city. Whilst this is significantly less than the 125 Superlambananas that were scattered across Liverpool in 2008, it does at least mean that you can see them all in a day. Well, theoretically.
I tried tracking down all 14 today but only managed 10. Three of them are in the Trinity Leeds centre, one in the Corn Exchange, two in the Victoria Quarter, one in the menswear department of Harvey Nichols, one in the Merrion Centre and two in The Light. These are the ones I found.
Another three are in and around Millennium Square as part of the German Christmas Market, but that’s now finished and was being dismantled today, so I couldn’t see any of those three. And the last one is inside the First Direct Arena, which was firmly shut today as presumably there isn’t a show on tonight and the box office is shut on Sundays.
If you want to find the reindeer yourself, then you have another 10 days to do so as it finishes on New Year’s Eve. Whether the three around Millennium Square will be accessible when the Christmas market has been cleared remains to be seen; you’ll also need to decide whether to bother trekking out to the arena to see if the reindeer there is viewable or not – I couldn’t see it through the windows.
If I’m honest, compared with some of the other fibreglass-based public art projects, this is a bit underwhelming; one reindeer had an iPad implanted into its abdomen but apart from that they were rather plainly decorated. Some of the Superlambananas and toads in Hull were much more imaginative and interesting. Still, going to find them meant that I had something to do whilst my dear wife stressed herself out trying to buy me a suitable Christmas present.
You can view photos of the 10 that I found, plus some other photos of Leeds taken today, in this Flickr album.