THE first installation has taken its place on the Liverpool Plinth outside Liverpool Parish Church. Gold Lamé is by disabled sculptor and artist Tony Heaton and will occupy the plinth outside St. Nicks overlooking Chapel Street for the next 12 months.
The sculpture is based on the famous Invacar – a small, blue one-seater vehicle given to disabled people during the 1960s and 1970s. Sprayed gold and suspended vertically above the plinth, the sculpture reclaims the word lame and confronts the negative stereotyping of disabled people the vehicle represented.
The project is the result of a collaboration between Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool Parish Church who commissioned city gallery and art organisation, dot-art to showcase sculptors in the north.
With Gold Lamé, Tony has transformed an object that previously marked out disabled people as ‘other’ into something more inspirational. “A golden invalid carriage landing from the heavens” as Tony puts it.
Tony continued: “Disabled people have always been present in society and figure often in the Bible; the curing of the lame, miracles and outsiders. The sculpture acts asa catalyst for discussion and debate on how disabled people are viewed and considered within contemporary society, including that of religion and faith.”
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company said: “The idea this project feeds into some of the core aims of Liverpool BID Company – in this case, to bring public art to the heart of the Commercial District BID, to attract footfall and encourage more locals and visitors to use the businesses we represent here,
“Gold Lamé certainly grabs the eys but carries an important message as well. We are sure it will be a welcome new addition to the area and enjoyed by businesses, residents and visitors over the coming year.”
The Revd Dr Crispin Palling, rector of Liverpool, added: “Churches have always been a place where the visual arts have engaged people in different ways and helped them to see the world around them in new ways. I am delighted that we have been able to continue this tradition and create The Liverpool Plinth project. The sculpture will animate, provoke and engage, and is an important contribution to the commercial and waterfront area of the city.”
The Liverpool Plinth – inspired by Trafalgar Square’s 4th plinth – will host a new sculpture every 12 months. As well as the exposure and publicity given to the artist and their work, they also receive a £1000 prize.