Thanks to Peter for tipping me off to all the hard work going on at the Liverpool Mural Project, which Belfast mural artists Danny Devenny and Mark Ervine plan to participate in soon. The project will create a series of murals for the 2008 European Capital of Culture Celebrations in an effort not only to showcase local talent and celebrate the culture of the Liverpool community (think Beatles, for example) but to encourage economic regeneration and community participation:
The Liverpool Mural Project is a unique project which is aiming to bring the skills and experience of mural artists from all communities of Belfast, working together and with community groups in Liverpool. Our objective is to create distinctive non-political murals for Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture year, celebrating Liverpool’s proud history and culture.
They are bringing together both republican and loyalist (nationalist/unionist?) mural artists to collaborate with local artists in Liverpool on these murals, yet the Liverpool Culture Company (kind of an odd name, don’t you think? a culture “company”) refused the project funding because they do not consider it to be “edgy enough.” Ahem. All very interesting given the fact that the Liverpool ’08 site describes their “Creative Communities” program as providing a spaces for unheard voices to have their say. “The Art of Inclusion” indeed–though not if you are from Belfast. I’d hazard a guess to say that though the Liverpool murals will not be political, perhaps it is the cross-community nature of the collaboration that scared them off. Shakespeare? Now that’s daringly innovative!
The following is an article by Lesley-Anne Henry from the 8 June edition of the Belfast Telegraph that explains more about the Liverpool Mural Project and includes interviews with artists Devenny and Ervine:
All you need is art: Loyalist and republican to paint Beatles murals
Mural painters from across Ulster’s political divide are planning to take their talents to Liverpool.
Loyalist Mark Ervine, son of the late PUP leader David Ervine, and republican ex-prisoner Danny Devenny are hoping to paint 12 Beatles murals in working class areas of Liverpool to mark the city’s European Capital of Culture status next year.
It will be the first time that loyalist and republican muralists have collaborated.
The duo are part of the Liverpool Mural Project which plans to copy Beatles album covers such as Sgt Pepper, Revolver and Yellow Submarine onto the gable walls of run down houses in the Edge Lane area of Liverpool.
Danny Devenny, who served time in Long Kesh, is famed for painting republican murals across north and west Belfast. Among his most famous is the Falls Road Bobby Sands work.
The lifelong Beatles fan said: “Now at the age of 53 I am getting a chance to paint my real heroes.
“This is positive imagery and it’s about bringing a smile to people’s faces. If you turned a corner and saw, for example, a portrait of John Lennon on a wall, it would definitely make you smile.
“The murals have brought thousands of tourists to Belfast. There is no reason why they can’t do the same for Liverpool.”
Mark Ervine, who recently painted the ‘New Dawn’ PUP mural in east Belfast said: “For us it would be an absolute privilege, it would be a big, big honour to paint them.
“This is the chance of a lifetime – it could become an international tourist attraction.”
The Liverpool Mural Project is also hoping to recruit artists from Northern Ireland and England and to involve schoolchildren and community groups.
“We hope that by involving others, that would give the people of a particular area ownership of the mural,” Mark added.
The idea came about after Liverpudlians Gregory Brennan and Peter Morrison took a black taxi tour of Belfast’s murals.
Peter told the Belfast Telegraph: “We were over in Belfast to see a band and were looking for something to do during the day ahead of the concert, so we took a taxi tour of the murals.
“That’s where the idea was born. We just thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if Liverpool could have murals, non-political, non-religious, just something to mark its European City of Culture status. Something for the people of Liverpool’?
“We thought it would be great to get artists from both sides to come over and work together but never thought it could happen.
“We have never done anything like this before.”
The project applied for culture funding from the Liverpool Culture Company but was rejected because it was not thought “edgy enough”.
Despite the rejection, Mark, Danny and the project organisers in England are confident their plans, which have been backed by politicians in Ulster and Liverpool, will receive funding from elsewhere.
They have written to former Beatle Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono asking them to pledge their support.
A spokesperson for the Liverpool Culture Company said that it would be contacting the artists to advise them on other avenues to pursue.
Mark and Danny hope this Liverpool Mural Project will be a stepping stone to creating an art exchange between Belfast and Liverpool.