The first piece of public artwork for the 2014 Liverpool Biennial is now complete and open for viewing. The artwork was designed by Carlos Cruz-Diez and painted by a team from Cammell Laird. The boat is an old Liverpool pilot ship called the Edmund Gardner, owned by National Museums Liverpool. The whole event has been brought about by a group effort by Tate Liverpool, 1418Now, National Museums Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennial.
The project connects Cammell Laird’s painters with their heritage. Cammell Laird played an important role in WW1. During World War One Cammell Laird completed work on nine battleships, 60 cruisers, 100 British and 95 United States destroyers, eight submarines, 123 armed merchant vessels and 107 merchant ships. The Cunard passenger liner Campania and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co steamer Ben-My-Chee were also converted at Cammell Laird into the first seaplane carriers for the Royal Navy.
It’s a very interesting piece. I saw a number of comments on twitter from people who wondered why it wasn’t black and white. Our memories of WW1 are all black and white as that was the photography technology available at the time. But the thing is, the paintwork was often in colour. I personally really like it. It’s very striking and really does stand out. I’m sure there will be quite a lot of interest in it. It’s definitely got that “What’s that?” quality to it, which is great as people who wouldn’t normally interact with art will do so now.