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Thursday 27 May 2021

Glyndebourne Hosts First Major Solo Exhibition By Sculptor Halima Cassell Since She Was Honoured For Outstanding Contribution To The Arts

Glyndebourne will present new works by the sculptor Halima Cassell as part of the 2021 Glyndebourne Festival this summer. It is the artist's first major solo exhibition since being awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list. 

Featuring nine sculptures in materials including cast iron, marble, jesmonite, concrete and bronze, the exhibition includes four new site-specific works for the Glyndebourne gardens. 

These include Memento Mori (2021), a pair of four-ton cast iron flames, Primavera (2021), a meditation on spring flowers, Hurricane (2021) and Gathering (2021), a series of coloured forms in hand-carved concrete, reflecting on the joy of coming together again. 

The new works are all inspired by the organic forms Cassell observed during her first visit to Glyndebourne in 2019. 

Halima Cassell MBE is a British artist and sculptor. Born in Kashmir in 1975, she grew up in Lancashire, England. 

Reflecting on her dual international heritage and inspired by geometry, architecture, natural forms and the patterns and textures she has encountered whilst travelling, Cassell makes deeply carved forms in unglazed ceramic, bronze, cast iron, marble, wood and jesmonite. 

Commenting on her sculptures, Cassell says: 

"When I started my work in 1995, people who saw it thought it was made by a man. 

"It was through the physical appearance, the strength, look and authority of the form, and its heavily carved contours and surfaces...The real importance for me was the perceived strength of the work itself, and that it was me (a small, slightly built Asian girl) who made it. I like the idea of being strong through my work." 

Cassell has exhibited across the UK and internationally and recent exhibitions include Electica – Global Inspirations (2019) at Manchester Art Gallery, which opened to critical acclaim. 

Cassell's work is represented extensively in major private and public collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield. 

She has also created public commissions for Blackburn, the Forest of Bowland, the Ribble Valley, Leicester, Nottingham and Liverpool. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors. 

Cassell's exhibition with Glyndebourne is online until 31 October. 

The sculptures can also be enjoyed in person by ticket holders to the 2021 Glyndebourne Festival who can view the works on display in the gardens where they will appear alongside permanent sculptures such as Draped Reclining Woman by Henry Moore, Nic Fiddian-Green"s Fire, and Triangles 5 (Bridge) by Nicholas Hare, which is on show for another year. 

Curator, Nerissa Taysom says: 

"It is a great thrill to be exhibiting Halima Cassell's sculptures at Glyndebourne this year. 

"Cassell represents one of the most dynamic and distinctive voices in contemporary British sculpture. 

"In her new works, each one inspired by different forces in nature, Cassell continues to push the boundaries of geometric form with her exquisite carved surfaces and gift for finding beauty and softness in hard materials. 

"Installed across Glyndebourne"s gardens, Cassell's sculptures offer a series of encounters, each one inviting you to reconsider your viewpoint on the natural world." 

The online exhibition can be discovered at

by: Mike Cobley



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