This summer, Sky Arts will follow a collection of inspiring artists in a unique project as they creatively reimagine some of Liverpool’s most iconic statues, giving them a whole new look by dressing them up or creating art around them.
Some of the artists’ interventions range from the celebratory to the confrontational, and all will be thought-provoking. As each statue is gradually revealed to the public, spectators will be prompted to look again, think again, and question how we feel about the public art that surrounds us. The artists involved in the project include major artists and heavyweights in the public art scene, as well as rising stars, local artists and designers.
The reimagined statues include:
Artist Bob and Roberta Smith has boldly placed a 'We will get through this with art' banner underneath Jacob Epstein's famous Liverpool Resurgent sculpture, reinforcing the statues original post war message of hope and giving it new meaning following the impact of the pandemic
Designer Daniel Lismore gives the statue of Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli a whole new look with a Pride themed Empress of India dress. The redressing is a commentary on Disraeli’s reputation as a flamboyant dresser and a dandy who wrote love letters to men, and on the fact that Victorian anti-homosexuality laws were imposed by Britain across the Empire. In many ex-colonial countries today, those laws still apply.
Taya Hughes has dressed statues of Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook and Henry The Navigator in elaborate Elizabethan-style ruffs made from fabrics associated with indigenous populations in Africa, New Zealand and Australia as a commentary on these explorers, who claimed to ‘discover’ these parts of the world.
Designer Stephen Jones will soon be giving The Beatles statue outside the Museum of Liverpool a new look creating four spectacular hats, each inspired by a different Beatles song to celebrate the iconic band.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: “Statues have often been a source of discussion and controversy and we all know how live and urgent the questions are around what statues are for, who or what they should represent and who deserves to be memorialised. This collaboration between Sky Arts, Liverpool Council and a cohort of brilliant artists will tackle some of those questions head, on in an entertaining and thoughtful way, with a healthy dose of wit and humour threaded throughout. We’re looking forward to seeing the results and engaging the people of Liverpool in the conversation.
Statues Redressed will air on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, and streaming service NOW this October