Biennial to “breathe new life” into Liverpool

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Jadé Fadojutimi, Bows won’t save you now, 2018. / Photo Simon Vogel

The Liverpool Biennial has become one of the first contemporary art festivals to open in the UK since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

The festival will transform the city’s public spaces, art galleries and historic sites from March 20 until June 27, extended by three weeks.

The biennial was originally planned to take place in 2020 but was rescheduled to the current dates due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Interim director for the Liverpool Biennial festival, Dr Sam Lackey, said: “This is to do with being in Liverpool. Liverpool’s such a resilient city, and the culture is considered so important to progressing than in other cities around the country.

“All the artists and venues involved have stuck with us too as we adapt the festival to meet standards set by the government guidelines.”

This year’s theme, ‘The Stomach and the Port’ curated by Manusela Moscoco, explores notions of the body and ways of connecting with the world.

Dr Lackey said: “The festival is interested in ideas of exchange and connection. It thinks about the port, inspired by Liverpool, as a place where ideas, people and trade happen as this idea of exchange. This along with sound and visual art works to incorporate the body’s exchange gives us the idea of the stomach.”

Fifty international artists and two collectives are taking part in this year’s biennial bringing a dynamic range of free exhibitions, performances, fringe events and screenings.

To celebrate Liverpool’s iconic architecture and public spaces, the eleventh edition of the biennial will host it’s first series of outdoor sculptures and installations across the city centre.

Dr Lackey said: “It feels amazing to finally be able to launch the works in the city, during this time, that we know people can come now to enjoy if they’re in the city. It feels like the perfect opportunity to breathe new life back into the city and start giving people confidence to come back into the spaces.”

Larry Achiampong, Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance, 2021 / Photo: Mark McNulty

New features include Teresa Solar’s Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark) (2021) at Exchange Flags; Linder’s Bower of Bliss (2021) at Liverpool ONE and Jorgge Menna Barreto’s mural Mauvais Alphabet (2021) on the side of Bluecoat.

Presiding over the city, Larry Achiampong’s Pan African For the Relic Travellers’ Alliance can be found across 10 locations, including St. George’s Hall, St. John’s Gardens, Central Library, Exchange Flags, Liverpool Parish Church, Martin Luther King Jr. Building, Edmund Gardener Vessel, Cunard Building, St. Luke’s Church and Liverpool ONE.

People can experience the new additions to the city safely by observing government Covid-19 regulations with social distancing and the correct facial coverings.

About Alex Taylor, JMU Journalism