Artwork in Liverpool ranges from the weird to the wonderful – all with tales to tell.
1. Super Lamb Banana
This wacky, yellow half-lamb, yes, half-banana appeared outside the Baltic Fleet Public House in 1998. It was designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiero in an apparent link between Liverpool’s traditional banana and lamb imports and the dangers of genetically modified food. It has been through a range of guises, from Friesian cow banana – following modification from vandals – to a pink lamb banana after charity sponsorship. Check out the website to take home your very own mini version of the super lamb banana, which changes location around the city.
2. Emin’s missing bird
Controversial modern artist Tracy Emin is perhaps best known for her exhibition of a patchwork tent detailing all the people she slept with, but her work in Liverpool hit the headlines again in 2008 – this time for going missing. Someone had nabbed the miniature bronze bird sat on top of a pole, created by the artist for Upper Duke Street. The Liverpool Echo reported Emin as retorting “This is taking the p***. Don’t bite the hand that feeds” in response to the repeated theft of the bird from the grounds of the Anglican cathedral.
3. Offerings to Eleanor Rigby
Passers-by can see offerings of beer, flowers and even sick in the bowl cradled by a statue dedicated to Eleanor Rigby on Button Street. The character was made famous by a song by the Liverpool lads, the Beatles. Artist Tommy Steele took a line from the lyrics when he dedicated the statue sat alone on a bench to ‘all the lonely people’. Some people take the structure as a symbol of devotion, while others treat the effigy less kindly.
4. Yellow Submarine alights
The artwork modelled on the Beatles song on the Revolver album now lies at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport to welcome visitors into the city. The yellow structure with an eye on the blow-hole was reportedly designed by Cammell Laird’s shipbuilders for an exhibition in the city in the 1980s. It is one of many Beatles statues located round Liverpool. Others include John Lennon on Mathew Street, which was historically frequented by the Fab Four.
5. Yoko Ono’s skyladders
One art installation that will probably not be missed is Yoko Ono’s in the ruined grounds of St Luke’s Church off Hardman Street. To celebrate Liverpool’s year as European City of Culture 2008, Yoko invited residents to set up step ladders, which did not quite become the “forest” she intended. The Skyladders project was designed in memory of her late husband John Lennon whom, she said, “immediately connected with the idea” when she first exhibited the project years ago.
Photo of Super Lamb Banana Sculpture in Liverpool, UK by Steve Montgomery