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Latest Liverpool Plinth sculpture highlights city's maritime past

The latest artwork chosen for the Liverpool Plinth has been revealed.

Katie McGuire’s 2400 will be in situ on the plinth at Liverpool Parish Church for the next 12 months.

The 24-year-old artist, who comes from St Helens but has her studio at Salford, spent weeks hand-knitting 2,400 metres of ‘chain’ (made from an industrial polyethylene called backer rod) which symbolises the city’s important maritime heritage and its dockworkers but also touches on the port’s historic role within the transatlantic trade in enslaved African people.

It is the fifth piece of public sculpture created by an artist from the North of England and showcased on the site as part of a joint initiative from Liverpool BID Company, Liverpool Parish Church and dot-art. McGuire, who also won £1,000, was chosen through an open call competition for up-and-coming artists based in the region.

And it will form part of a summer of public artworks being created on unveiled with a ‘Pool of Life’ mural being painted in Harrington Street and plans progressing for a new statue of Brian Epstein in Whitechapel. The waterfront will also see new work installed in July as part of a collaboration between BID and the Biennial.

Above: Artist Kate McGuire with her work 2400 on the Liverpool Plinth

The Rev Canon Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool, said: “It’s a pleasure to host another work of art. The church has a 2,000-year history of commissioning, showcasing and promoting artists, and we’re continuing that in a 21st Century way.

“This piece is challenging in some ways and in other ways it’s evocative of our environment. It has a maritime theme but is also resonant of the trade of enslaved Africans, and proceeds on which this city was built. It complements the grappling with the issue in our past.

“But it’s not just about that. Most of all we recognise it as a way to engage people in different issues. I hope people will be enthused and provoked.”

McGuire, whose artistic practice explores her own heritage through the reproduction and depiction of industry, added: “I’d seen the open call before but hadn’t entered. When I applied this time I was quite a young artist and it’s significant to have this in such an amazing spot.

“I hope it will be thought-provoking. It’s very different to sculptures which have been on the Plinth before. I’m excited about what people get from it and how they view the work.


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