Thousands set to descend on city gardens for outdoor exhibition

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THE plush surroundings of Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens will provide the backdrop for show-stopping works of art as a popular exhibition makes a welcome return.

Artists and craftmakers from across the UK and beyond are set to flock to Art in the Gardens next weekend for the annual two-day showcase.

The free event will see more than 300 artists displaying their work in the horticultural paradise on Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2.

One of the highlights on this year’s programme comes from Sheffield’s Anthony Bennett, who will be displaying The Great Omi - a lifesize sculpture of the world’s first tattooed man - in the Bear Pit.

Anthony said: “It’s great to have been invited to exhibit The Great Omi at this year’s event.

“This is the very first time that it’s been displayed in Sheffield and I can’t think of a better setting or event to showcase it.”

In keeping with the city’s summer of sport theme, the exhibition will also feature a portraits of Monique Gladding, Sheffield’s own Olympic high diving expert.

Artists from all over the region have been painting a portrait of Monique from a photograph in their bid to win the Portraits of Distinction competition.

She will be at the show early on Sunday afternoon to judge the entries in the competition.

Monqiue said: “It’s an absolute privilege and honour to be involved with this project, and to be aligned with the people that have previously taken part. Having studied art at school my passion still continues and it is something I love and use in my downtime to relax and unwind. I am really looking forward to seeing the different interpretations from the artists and to judge the event.”

Organisers are hoping for a big turnout to the free exhibition.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield’s Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “The Art in the Gardens show has a really exciting line-up this year. It’s great that Sheffield is able to attract such talented and creative artists to the city. There’s so much to see and do that it will be difficult for anyone to fit it into one day. It will be a fantastic event the whole family can enjoy.”