News: Final plans unveiled as sculpture exhibition announced for inaugural EA Festival

With six weeks to go until the inaugural EA Festival, a stunning new sculpture exhibition in the grounds of Hedingham Castle and a curated retail marketplace have now been announced. These final elements join the full programme of talks, panel discussions, events, exhibitions and performances to create a festival with something for everyone. Uniting the worlds of art, performance, fashion and the environment, the world-class line-up interrogates the future of everything from meat-eating and fashion to sex and the English language.

Visitors will be treated to an exhibition of sculptures by East Anglian artists dotted throughout the Hedingham Castle’s enchanting park-like gardens. Among the sculptures featured will be those of Laurence Edwards, renowned for his pensive monumental bronzes. The only sculptor in the country with his own foundry, Edwards harnesses the casting process as his tool of artistic expression. Bronze casting is an alchemical process and Edwards merges the role of craftsman and artist in a unique practice that has seen him achieve great renown.

Edwards will be joined by well-known East Anglian figurative sculptor, Maurice Blik and newer rising talents Aaron MacDermott and Craig Hudson. Also included will be Billie Bond, whose giant, kintsugi-style (shattered) female head was recently featured in the book accompanying Beyonce’s Lemonade album. Jim Racine will show a 12-foot abstract bronze from his “Bird Alphabet” series, based on his project of devising a language to communicate with birds and Sian O’Keeffe’s immersive installation piece will invite visitors to step into a cube made of suspended gold Mylar blankets.

As the world transforms in the wake of last year, the exhibition at Hedingham Castle combines bronze, figuration, and human interaction with the natural landscape to lead viewers on a journey that responds to the moment. The exhibition will open at EA Festival and remain in residence throughout the summer.

EA Festival will also showcase incredible local artisans in their curated retail marketplace. Susi Hines, one of East Anglia’s top metal craftspeople whose work has been exhibited at Goldsmiths’ Hall and the Royal Academy, will bring her nature-inspired contemporary jewellery collection to the festival. Artist silversmith, Miriam Hanid, who has created pieces for the V&A Museum and the National Museum of Wales, will be conducting live demonstrations on her silversmithing bench in the Keep of Hedingham Castle. Suffolk artist, Carolyn Brookes Davies, will show her beautiful and one-of-a-kind homeware pieces designed with handpicked shells. EA Festival will also operate its own retail showcase stocking the wares of local and regional makers, from venison pastrami to goat’s milk soaps.

Delicious sweets will be provided by Christine’s Patisserie who will be launching its new line of traditional and vegan chocolates and macaroons under Sucoca, its new brand. The organic farm owned and operated by Victoria Getty, Lavenham Brook, is sponsoring EA Festival and will be the exclusive supplier of the Festival’s sparkling, rose and white wines. Master distiller English Spirit Distillery, the award-winning creators of the original English rum, will be offering a tantalising range of their artisan spirits alongside Roughacre Brewery who will be bringing their immensely quaffable local real ales.

Festival goers can also enjoy charcuterie from acclaimed family butchers Dingley Dell, whose heavily marbled smoked and cured meats regularly feature on the menus of London’s top gourmet restaurants. The celebration of local, sustainable producers continues with Truly Traceable: their venison and game pies, whose every pie features game that can be traced to its original source thanks to the company’s direct working relationship with deer and game management, can be enjoyed on the day, or cooked fresh at home. Fork Kitchen and Deli, launched by award-winning Suffolk chef Justin Kett and his wife during the pandemic, will showcase East Anglian produce by offering a selection of their homemade preserves and prepared lunches at EA Festival.

Included in the exciting programme are renowned lexicographer Susie Dent with her thoughts about how future generations will use the English language and supermodel Arizona Muse, who we know from the covers of many issues of Vogue, discussing how the fashion industry can mitigate climate change. Former Director of both the Royal Academy of Arts and National Gallery, Charles Saumarez Smith will explore how museums need to cater for a new art-going culture and Grammy Award-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie considers the power of truly listening to others.

Also appearing is the UK’s most celebrated comedy producer, John Lloyd, responsible for national treasures like Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI. Plus there will be a performance from Roman Kosyakov, the 2018 winner of Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, marking the start of a long-term partnership between the two organisations.

EA Festival seeks to shine a light on East Anglia with exciting local collaborations as well as fantastic luminaries from across the UK. The Keep will host a curated marketplace and exhibition featuring brands, merchants and artists from the region.

Located in the heart of East Anglia, and now over 900-years old, Hedingham Castle is the best-preserved Norman keep in the United Kingdom. The unique fairy tale Keep dominates its lush parkland setting and is complemented by the elegant Georgian mansion nearby. All festival events will take place in the permanent, enclosed, all-weather marquee attached to the mansion, approximately 300m from the Keep.

EA Festival comes to Hedingham Castle from 31 July – 1 August.x

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