More Liverpool statues receive an artistic transformation
Sky Arts’ unique summer long project following a collection of inspiring artists as they creatively reimagine some of Liverpool’s most iconic statues continues.
Part of Culture Liverpool’s Very Public Art campaign, the next phase of reveals sees Queen Victoria placed in a ‘Gone With the Wind’ inspired dress by Karen Arthur working in collaboration with historian Laurence Westgaph; the Gladstone statue in St John’s Gardens wrapped in a pan-African flag by artist Larry Achiampong; and John, Paul, George and Ringo of The Beatles celebrated by the internationally renowned milliner Stephen Jones OBE.
The celebrated milliner Stephen Jones OBE – who grew up in Liverpool – has created four spectacular hats for the famous statue of The Beatles on the Pier Head, each one inspired by a different Beatles song – Yellow Submarine for Ringo; Penny Lane for Paul; Help for John; and Here Comes The Sun for George. The Beatles statue brings joy to thousands of visitors every year. People from across the world come to have their photograph taken beside it as anyone who stands next to it becomes, just for a moment, the fifth Beatle.
Artist Larry Achiampong has redressed the large bronze statue of Gladstone in St John’s Gardens by wrapping a pan-African flag tightly around his body. The design of the flag features 54 stars that represent the 54 countries of Africa, and its green, black and red colours reflect, respectively, its land, its people and the struggles the continent has endured. The yellow background represents a new day and prosperity. This piece – located in the graveyard where enslaved people in Liverpool were buried – is a response to the fact that William Gladstone’s family fortune came from plantations and slavery.
Designer Karen Arthur, working in collaboration with historian Laurence Westgaph, has created a stunning cotton dress for the Queen Victoria monument in Derby Square, inspired by Gone With The Wind. During Victoria’s reign, cotton played a crucial part in Liverpool’s trading activities and the wider economic success of Britain, but up until the American Civil War in the 1860s, this cotton was being picked by enslaved people in the United States. This piece is about Liverpool’s complicity with slavery, and how Queen Victoria and Britain were beneficiaries of that, as recently as 150 years ago.
The documentary special, Statues Redressed, coming to Sky Arts and streaming service NOW in October, will see the artists challenge and celebrate the role of these statues in modern times, as part of the ongoing debate around who and what should be immortalised as public monuments. The project includes both thought-provoking and joyful statues, encouraging spectators to contemplate the past as well as celebrate some of Liverpool’s finest icons.
Upcoming statues being transformed include Eleanor Rigby in Stanley Street and Peter Pan in Sefton Park amongst others. As the project continues, taking on many of the city’s most iconic statues, details are being revealed about each ‘redressing’ at: www.statuesredressed.com