Liverpool's Beatles statues get makeover as part of arts project
Liverpool’s famous statues of The Beatles have been dressed in specially designed hats inspired by their songs as part of a project by Sky Arts.
Milliner Stephen Jones, who grew up in the city, created the pieces for the Fab Four statues on Pier Head, taking inspiration from Yellow Submarine for Sir Ringo Starr, Penny Lane for Sir Paul McCartney, Help! for John Lennon and Here Comes The Sun for George Harrison.
A collection of artists have been commissioned to create art around or dress up statues across the city this summer, in a bid to “challenge and celebrate the role of these statues in modern times”.
Liverpool has the largest number of statues in the UK outside of London, including of cultural, sporting and royal figures, plus monuments depicting people linked to slavery and Britain’s colonial past.
The next phase of the project sees the bronze statue of former prime minister William Gladstone in St John’s Gardens redressed by artist Larry Achiampong.
He wears an African flag wrapped tightly around his body featuring 54 stars representing the continent’s 54 countries, a response to Gladstone’s family having profited from plantations and slavery.
Designer Karen Arthur, working with historian Laurence Westgaph, created a cotton dress for the Queen Victoria Monument in Derby Square, inspired by Gone With The Wind and the city’s links with the slave trade.
As part of the first phase, Bob and Roberta Smith – the pseudonym of artist Patrick Brill – placed a “We will get through this with art” banner underneath Jacob Epstein’s Liverpool Resurgent sculpture, reframing its original post-war message of hope.
A documentary special exploring the project, called Statues Redressed, will arrive on Sky Arts and streaming service NOW in October.