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Liverpool Independents Biennial takes art online and into supermarkets

Liverpool Independents Biennial is being launched today online and in the form of a special ‘printed gallery’.

The gallery of works will be able to be picked up from participating supermarkets across Merseyside including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons.

The Independents Biennial runs from March 20 to June 6 as a sister event to the Liverpool Biennial, and aims to celebrate and showcase the best in contemporary art from artists based in Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Halton.

Organisers Art in Liverpool, who were forced to postpone the event from last year, had hoped to take over a major disused building space in the city centre.

However, with ongoing Coronavirus restrictions in place meaning indoor gallery spaces won’t be able to open until at least May 17, the festival is continuing in virtual and other formats.

Works on show include Emmer Winders’ Social Pharmacy, which collects positive mantras and phrases that have helped people get through the Covid-19 pandemic. Sourced through one-to-one workshops and social media, the phrases will be turned into prescriptions on medicine bottles, displayed to give a sense of collective wellbeing and advice on positivity in the face of adversity.

Meanwhile the Independents Biennial is working with four artists - Pierce Starre, Sufea Mohamad Noor, Jay Hampton and Sorrell Kerrison - in partnership with Metal Liverpool.

Kerrison has combined crypto art and craft to create a new work that explores the experience of motherhood through self-portraits, while Hampton is creating recipe videos using hyperlocal plant life and weeds, like dandelion lemonade, to highlight the loss of natural space, like wildflower meadows.

And Noor has created a new work using language, design and typography to reflect on post-colonial discourse and the power of words, both good and bad.

Above: Montse Mosqeura - fim still from Too Foreign. Top: Alan Dunn - Four Word Screen Grab

A further partnership with Open Eye Gallery has led to artists Sam Venables, Feiyi Wen and Monste Mosquera being selected to show their work as a digital window display.

Meanwhile photographer Kevin Crooks and writer Callan Waldron-Hall are collaborating on a project in the Thatto Heath area of St Helens where residents’ experiences of 2020 are being turned into pictures and words forming a hyperlocal community reflection of the past year.

Alongside the artwork weekly writing, podcasts and conversation will explore a series of themes affecting independent artists.

Festival director Patrick Kirk-Smith says: “From the start we’ve recognised this festival might be different to those in the past, but that this provided an opportunity for artists and us to reflect on what is important to them.

“As a festival, we exist to shout about and celebrate the artists that make up Liverpool City Region’s grassroots creative community. We want to give those artists a voice, through their work and their experience, and this year’s festival allows us to do just that.”

The supermarkets where you can pick up Biennial work are:

Asda - Smithdown Road, Aintree, Hunts Cross, Walton, Bootle, Liscard, Bromborough, Huyton, Southport, St Helens.

Sainsbury's - Great Homer Street, Walton, Knotty Ash, Crosby.

Tesco - Mather Avenue, Haydock, Newton-le-Willows, St Helens.

Morrisons - New Brighton.

The Independents Biennial runs from March 20 to June 6 and the full programme is available on the website HERE


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