Leeds art exhibition welcomes Rugby League World Cup 2013

image captionThe exhibition of Mandy Long's sculptures celebrates the Rugby League World Cup 2013
image captionMandy Long absorbed the atmosphere at rugby league games during her work
image captionMandy Long has also sculpted football and gymnastics figures

An art exhibition of sculptures by a rugby league fan is to be held to celebrate the Rugby League World Cup.

Leeds-based Mandy Long's ceramic sculptures aim to capture the movement and physicality of sport.

Ms Long said: "When you watch the slowed-down action montages shown on TV you can see what makes sport a balletic and artistic experience."

The exhibition at Leeds Town Hall is to be opened by Keith Senior, the former Leeds Rhino and England player.

Ms Long said: "I do not know a lot technically about rugby league but I am a convert to the game and a Rhinos supporter."

In order to create the rugby league sculptures, she went to games "absorbed the atmosphere and got an impression of the movements" before working from photographs.

'Passion and excitement'

Ms Long became a rugby league fan after her sons began to watch the game.

"The game is so accessible and has a family-friendly atmosphere", she added.

The current exhibition features sculptures of people playing rugby league, football, and competing in synchronised swimming and gymnastics.

Ms Long has already held an exhibition at Headingley stadium, home of the Rhinos, in 2012.

New Zealand will play Papua New Guinea at Headingley on Friday and the ground is to host a quarter-final tie on 15 November.

Meanwhile, young people in Leeds have created a mural stretching 230ft (70m) at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

The centre is a training base for the New Zealand squad and the mural depicts all 14 countries taking part.

The exhibition starts on Tuesday and runs until 16 November.

image captionRepresentatives of the 14 teams gathered for a tournament launch event in Manchester

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