Brand new artworks are taking over the city centre as Liverpool gears up to celebrate Chinese New Year.
From Friday (1 February) huge images of the 12 animals which make up the Chinese zodiac will appear on walls or in shop windows in the days leading up to the main celebrations on Sunday 10 February.
Designed by local artist Cherie Grist, the locations of the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig are being kept under wraps until they are all unveiled. However, Cherie has revealed the rat will be the first to make its appearance on the side of the Havelock Building (the former Cabin nightclub) on Berry Street on Friday.
The appearance of the animal artworks will coincide with thousands of Chinese lanterns adorning city centre streets, and a number of buildings including St Luke’s Church (the Bombed Out Church), Everyman & Playhouse Theatres and Sefton Park Palm House turning red in homage to China.
Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Chinese New Year is an important event in our calendar and it’s great to build the excitement ahead of the main celebrations on 10 February.
“It’s a really nice touch to be able to see Cherie’s work pop up around the city centre in homage to the 12 zodiac animals and I’m sure they will become a must-visit selfie-spot in the next few weeks.”
Local artist Cherie Grist said: “I’ve always loved Liverpool’s Chinese New Year celebrations and I’m really pleased that I can be part of this year’s event.
“I’ve spent a lot of time travelling in China and find it very inspiring visually and culturally. I understand how important the Chinese zodiac is in their culture, so the pressure is on to do the Chinese community proud! It was my aim to give each animal its own personality and I can’t want to see them all on display in the city.”
The build-up continues on Saturday 2 February when the Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Friendship Association parade through the city centre, performing a traditional dance symbolising good luck and good fortune, banishing the winter and welcoming spring. Starting on Bold Street at 1pm, it will travel along Church Street and onto Paradise Street, ending near John Lewis in Liverpool ONE.
Also from Saturday, an augmented reality trail will be launched giving people the opportunity to explore Chinatown, searching for signs that will bring to life the magical journey of a little girl called Jingwei and her pet pig’s journey from the East to the West.
To find out about all the Chinese New Year celebrations which includes the projections and pyrotechnics on the Chinese arch from Friday 8 February up to the main day of family friendly activities which starts at 11.30am on Sunday 10 February, visit www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/cny.
All the celebrations mark the 20th anniversary of Liverpool’s twinning with Shanghai.
The augmented trail and the zodiac artwork has been commissioned by Liverpool City Council. Created by First Take, Pagoda Arts and Illuminos. It is written and directed by Lynne Harwood, features Zilan Liao with the Chinese Youth Orchestra, animation by Illuminos and music by Jah Wobble and Pagoda’s emerging young musicians.
The event on Sunday 10 February is organised by Liverpool City Council and is supported by Liverpool Chinese Business Association, the Liverpool BID Company, Liverpool ONE, Stagecoach, Heart North West and Royal Liver Building 360.