Statues on the move

Sir John and Cecil Moores bronze statueThe bronze statue of Littlewoods' founders Sir John Moores and Cecil Moores in Church Street is today being moved to the firm's headquarters at 100 Old Hall Street. While its position outside the Littlewoods shop was up for debate anyway following the store's closure, the statue has to be moved ahead of the £5.5 million development programme for Church Street and Lord Street. On the theme of Liverpool statues, I was intrigued to find, on the website of Liverpool musician Gerry Jones, a campaign dating from 2000 to have a third Liver Bird constructed at ground level. His support for the idea has some compelling arguments but it's not clear if any of them have been taken up by Liverpool Council. While the Moores statue and the Liver Birds, in particular, are symbols and memorials of the city's tradition and heritage – and of course there are many more valuable and historic pieces throughout the city – the public's reaction to pieces that aim to reflect the modern city and its future is more mixed. In the city which only recently ditched its policy of restricting the construction of tall buildings to certain locations, it is no surprise that statues like the superlambbanana, now in its latest home on Tithebarn Street, create controversy and debate. Leaving aside the acts of vandalism it has endured, Taro Chiezo's work has polarised opinion since it first appeared in 1998. It is surely one of the aims of public art to challenge perceptions and from the faultlines of debate move the city forward. The statue is now one of the city's most iconic public works. (Pic courtesy www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk, donated by Jonathan P Neill)                  

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