Take a peck at these!
Over the next months, locations in and around Liverpool are getting some new artistic additions thanks to an inspiring cultural campaign. Known as Very Public Art, the campaign will see a series of brand new art commissions dotted across the city showcasing the local creative community and giving the creators the chance to tell stories through their work.
Each individual project will pop up during the months of July, August and September starting with And These Birds Can Sing located in the gardens of St Nicholas Parish Church, and will be in place until August 15. This magical sound, art and nature trail of birdhouses is a celebration of women’s voices and encourages visitors to reflect, remember and be inspired.
Created by The Birdcage Stage CIC, each brightly coloured birdbox is constructed from wood salvaged from Strawberry Fields and has a unique theme inspired by nature and wildlife. The beautiful soundtrack has been supplied by We Want Women, Hope Street Harmonies and Singing Mamas Choir.
Katy-Anne Bellis, Director of The Birdcage Stage CIC, said: “It’s been an amazing experience curating And These Birds Can Sing for the gardens of St. Nicholas’s Church, all under the watchful eyes of the Liver Birds! Creating this exhibition has been moving, and joyful in equal measure as female singers from all over the city have submitted or recorded their voices, poems, stories and songs to be included within the beautiful setting of the birdboxes, finding new ways to bring our voices together and share them with audiences.
“Singing together in groups has always been such a joy and it feels quite poignant to hear all those voices coming together from the tiny houses, like a reflection on the last year. I hope that people will enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of the birdsong and leave feeling their spirits lifted by some of the incredibly talented birds in our city!”
Another project which forms part of the Very Public Art Campaign is Statues Redressed, which 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. The Sky Arts initiative is 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.
Some of the statues ‘redressed’ to date include designer Daniel Lismore giving the statue of Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli a whole new look with a Pride-themed Empress of India dress. Artists Bob and Roberta Smith also placed a “We will get through this with art” banner underneath Jacob Epstein’s famous Liverpool Resurgent sculpture (at the former Lewis’s building), reinforcing the statue’s original post-war message of hope and giving it new meaning following the impact of the pandemic.
Plus, that’s not all. In Sefton Park, designer Taya Hughes has adorned the Captain Cook statue with Elizabethan-style ruffs made from traditional fabrics associated with the indigenous populations of Africa, New Zealand and Australia, speaking to Taya’s personal experience of growing up in Zimbabwe, as well as a wider critique of colonial rule.
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “The last 18 months have changed the way we think about the places we live. The pandemic and the lockdowns we all experienced gave us a different lens through which we looked at our homes, our streets, our parks and the city as a whole.
“For some people, they may never have felt more connected to the place they live as they do now. For others, they may be a bit bored and uninspired about of seeing the same old landmarks. Very Public Art is all about bringing a new energy to the familiar, and giving everyone a reason to get out and explore the city’s streets again.”
Details of all the Very Public Art installations – which are all free and in the open air – are set to be announced over the coming weeks.