Two giant-sized sculptures are set to appear in Liverpool this weekend, as part of a major public art campaign to encourage people to rediscover the city this summer.
On Saturday (14 August), Chinatown will become home to Cowherd & Weaver Girl – a giant pop-up story book which encourages people to step in to the pages in a celebration of love, family and friends. The outdoor artwork will depict a scene from a Chinese mythological story based around the Qixi festival – the Chinese Valentine’s Day which is celebrated on 14 August. The piece will be in situ until Saturday 28 August.
On Sunday (15 August), Writing on the Wall and architect Daniel Smith of award winning practice Smith Young, will pay homage to sculptor Arthur Dooley’s original Speakers’ Podium that stood at the Pier Head until the 1990s.
Mersey Sounds is a 12.5metre tall giant, handmade copper megaphone will take pride of place on the waterfront, reflecting Liverpool’s traditions as a democratic city where its people have a voice and tell their own story.
They have worked with diverse groups across the city to create a soundscape of speeches which will played out, along with excerpts of interviews recorded by people with a connection to the docks. It will be on display until Monday 6 September.
The installations form part of Very Public Art which will see a series of brand new art commissions showcase the local creative community and give the creators the chance to tell stories through their work.
Already in place are And These Birds Can Sing located in the gardens of St Nicholas Parish Church. Created by The Birdcage Stage CIC, this magical sound, art and nature trail of bird houses is a celebration of women’s voices and encourages visitors to reflect, remember and be inspired.
Holiday Home in Liverpool ONE is a vibrant and artistic take on domestic architecture and line drawings by Richard Woods, an artist from Chester. The installation features bold block colours and thick black outlines, creating a unique and cartoon-like appearance.
Statues Redressed – the Sky Arts initiative announced earlier this month – also forms part of the Very Public Art campaign. This project sees leading artists give statues across the city a temporary makeover as part of a conversation on the role and symbolism of the city’s statues. Sky Arts is working in partnership with Culture Liverpool and will be producing a documentary on the work which is set to be shown on the channel in October. For the latest information visit www.statuesredressed.com.
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“To have new pieces of art pop-up across our city each week is fantastic to see. We’re seeing a steady return of culture to this city and it’s so refreshing to have thought-provoking and fun installations temporarily change our landscape.
“Each piece is so diverse. I encourage residents and visitors to check out these new additions to the city and of course, they are perfect selfie backdrops so tag us in to your photos and let’s share the love for culture once again.”
Laura Brownhill, the artist responsible for Cowherd & Weaver Girl, said:
“Liverpool’s Chinatown is world renowned and I’m so pleased to be able to create a piece of work which not only resonates with the community, but also engages visitors. It’s a stunning location and the perfect place to pay tribute to Qixi and reinforce the power of love, family and friendship.”
Madeline Heneghan & Mike Morris, Co-Directors, Writing on the Wall, said:
“An installation of this nature is a new venture for Writing on the Wall, but when the opportunity arose for us to be commissioned for ‘Very Public Art’, we felt it essential that the diverse voices of people across the city be heard.
“When we saw Daniel Smith’s brilliant reimagining of Arthur Dooley’s original Speaker’s Podium, we knew this would be the perfect vehicle for a soundscape that could represent the both the past and present experiences and voices of our communities across the Liverpool.”
Details of all the Very Public Art installations – which are all free and in the open air – will be announced over the coming weeks. For the latest information visit the official website and follow the hashtags #VeryPublicArt #StatuesRedressed.
All the works have been commissioned by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, supported by Arts Council England.