Friday, November 03, 2006

Save our statues

I have joined the Liverpool Daily Post's campaign to save Another Place by Anthony Gormley on Crosby Beach. If you click on the title of this story it will take you to their website and you can see photos and sign the petition.

I have been to see them lots of times and always take visitors from out of the area. They are wonderful, awesome, majorly thought-provoking and a fabulous and fantastic coup for the people of Merseyside.

They were installed by Anthony Gormley who is the sculptor of the world-renowned Angel of the North. He modelled the statues in his own likeness and they stand, a hundred of them, in waves along the beach for as far as the eye can see, looking out to sea and being buffeted by the tide.

He intended them to be a temporary installation, they have already been to other places round the world and are due to be moved to America any day now. However, he said when he saw them installed at Crosby (which is a bit north of Liverpool in the Sefton local authority) that they were clearly at home and were meant to stay.

The region was then tasked with finding enough money to buy them and keep them.

Before we could really get going with this though, a local Tory Councillor opposed the planning application to keep them as she said they were a health and safety hazard. Apparently one or two statues are in a bad place and might threaten passing water traffic and there is a worry that some people might wander out too far to look at one of the statues and get caught by the incoming tide. So they threw the plans out and the statues are currently, as I write, destined to leave.

We now need to persuade the planning committee on Sefton council to see sense, allow Gormley to relocate the odd statue that is in a bad place and save the day. A few notices on the beach and perhaps a bit of common sense might solve some of the other problems.

As an enthusiastic member of the Heritage Select Committee on Liverpool City Council, I really value our region's art provision. Some parts of the national media like to portray Merseyside as a blighted place, derelict, run-down and without charm or beauty.

I hope the successful bid to be European City of Culture in 2008 will go a long way to rewriting this perception. Indeed as you ascend the elevators at Euston station in London, or arrive at John Lennon Airport, you see a marketing campaign for 08, encouraging people to visit the area and see what a great place it really is culturally.

The statues feature heavily in the campaign, they are a powerful example of our love of art and illustrate the fact that we have more art galleries than any city outside of London. They are also a symbol of our looking ahead, looking forward, into a positive future full of renewal and regeneration.

If these statues are torn from the beach we will have lost a wonderful work of art beloved by many but we will also have lost our reputation in the art world; the 08 city of culture will be a hollow experience without them.

Sign the petition today


Anonymous said...

Have been meaning to go and see them for ages. Will you take me when I come to see you new house :0)

LouiseB31 said...

I would be delighted to!