Capital of Culture: The Transition

Liverpool’s year as Capital of Culture came to a close this evening with the Transition celebration at Pier Head where I took these photos. Continue reading “Capital of Culture: The Transition”

Liverpool Capital of Culture success

I’ve just caught up with this article, in the Independent last week, applauding the success of Capital of Culture.

It’s not as if the UK has been awash with good news of late – but before we head towards year’s end with those round-ups of all that went awry in ’08, we shouldn’t forget to celebrate one big success story: Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture.

Recently the Daily Post reported that Liverpool’s tenure as the UK’s European Capital of Culture 2008 has generated an £800m boost to the regional economy.

Another assessment in  the Daily Post stated ‘Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture has been an unprecedented success – and cultural leaders say it’s in the communities where it has had its greatest impact’.

Many expect to see the legacy of Capital of Culture in the new Museum of Liverpool, the new-look Pier Head with its canal link to Leeds, the Kings Dock and the Liverpool One shopping centre. But, in an interview in the Daily Post,  Culture Secretary Andy Burnham sees it in the eyes of the children he met through the Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (Larc), an experience which proved the power of art and culture to change lives.

In another piece, Samantha Parker looks at the impact Culture Year has had on Merseyside’s communities and what it means for the future.

And in another piece of good news – it looks as though the original Superlambanana is to stay in Liverpool.  The BBC is reporting that Taro Chiezo, the designer, is in town and is likely to sign a deal for it to stay.

P.S. 5 January: It had 7,000 events, involving 10,000 artists and 60 premieres. But was Liverpool’s year of culture a success? Alfred Hickling gives his verdict, Guardian

Superlambananas are here!

Superlambananas are here!

One of the most eagerly awaited events of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations is now live! 125, two metre tall replicas of Taro Cheizo’s iconic SuperLambBanana sculpture have been painted, decorated and adorned by local artists, schools and community groups, to create a free to view, open air, public art spectacular.

Trail maps have been made so people can see all the sculptures that look like a cross between a lamb and a banana. Liverpool Culture Company says the aim was to create a free public art spectacular.

The original 17ft-high yellow sculpture can still be seen at its current location outside the John Moores University Avril Robarts centre on Tithebarn Street. It was created as part of the Artranspennine ’98 festival as a comment on genetic modification.

The original SuperLambBanana was the work of Japanese-based artist Taro Chiezo. Commissioned for the Art Transpennine Exhibition of 1998, the sculpture was a controversial, but welcome addition to the public art arena in Liverpool. Standing an impressive seventeen feet tall and comprised of concrete and steel, the statue first attracted interest from its original position on the Strand. The unusual artwork was created to warn of the dangers of genetically modified food, whilst being appropriate to the city of Liverpool due to the port’s rich history in the trade of lambs and the import of bananas.

As with much modern art, there was initially a degree of scepticism around the LambBanana, but residents and tourists alike quickly began to see the unusual artwork as a welcome and humorous feature of the city at a time of much change and large-scale regeneration.

Since the sculpture’s conception it was intended to move around the city and not remain in one location.It was originally located on the Strand near Liverpool’s famous Liver Building and has since been located in several places including Williamson Square, Spike Island in Halton, and on Wapping, close to the Albert Dock.

Although its usual colour is yellow, the statue has occasionally been given a temporary repaint as part of a sponsorship arrangement. Colours have included pink, during a period of sponsorship by the breast cancer awareness charity Breakthrough, the colours of a Friesian cow during a period of ‘quasi-vandalism’, and purple during the SmokeFree Liverpool campaign.

Superlambananas on parade

Jessica Shaughnessy reports for the Daily Post & Echo from Speke, where a flock of 150 Superlambananas are ready to hit the streets of Liverpool.