New sculpture on The Liverpool Plinth reflects on Ukraine conflict

Posted on 7 July 2023
By Khyle Deen
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A new sculpture serving as a meditation on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is to be unveiled on The Liverpool Plinth. Boy with knife carnation by Wirral based artist Brigitte Jurack is the sixth sculpture to be installed onto the Plinth.

The work will be in situ on The Liverpool Plinth for the next 12 months.

Boy with knife carnation is a piece originally conceived as a meditation on fear and uncertainty and the lingering potential of violence. The knife in the original sculpture is replaced with a carnation, which will be replaced to change colour throughout the year. In Ukrainian culture, different coloured carnations are used to symbolise different feelings and emotions. Red carnations, for example, are given on 8 May to veterans, white are given as a sign of pure love and pink to mothers to celebrate undying love.

Brigitte Jurack says:

“I am honoured to see this sculpture in the public realm at St. Nicholas Church. The contemporary hooded boy is at the threshold to adolescence, a time of turmoil and uncertainty. His pose represents uncertainty: How will he remain on the path of peace in the light of external and internal conflict?”

The Liverpool Plinth is a public art partnership between Liverpool BID Company, dot-art and Liverpool Parish Church. Boy with knife carnation is the latest sculpture to be installed onto the Plinth, helping to enrich public spaces within Liverpool’s Culture & Commerce BID Area. Established in 2018, The Liverpool Plinth is located at the Grade II listed Liverpool Parish Church, the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, and is managed together with Liverpool BID Company and dot-art.

Part of the Public Art Strategy, The Liverpool Plinth is the Northern response to London’s Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth. Celebrating and platforming sculptors, the successful sculpture is selected via Open Call, for artists living and working within the North of England. In 2023, this geographical area was extended to include the Midlands. The selected artist receives £1,000.

Since its inception, the project has brought public art into the city centre, exploring diverse issues including disability, mental health, climate change and heritage. Previous artists whose work has been displayed on The Liverpool Plinth include;

Tony Heaton with Gold Lamé, Sam Shendi with Split Decision, Gail Dooley with Tidal Shame, Faith Bebbington with Jimmy, Katie McGuire with 2400.

Lucy Byrne of dot-art says:

“This is a powerful work that articulates the ability of art to raise public awareness and consciousness around conflict. It felt fitting when we saw the submissions that this meditation on violence and conflict would have such a prominent place within our city”.

Bill Addy, CEO of Liverpool BID Company says:

“This year has been one where Liverpool has shown its solidarity with Ukraine, first hosting Eurovision on behalf of the country, and now with this opportunity to reflect on the conflict itself. Public art is something we passionately support at Liverpool BID as it does not just animate our public spaces, it has the power to force us to challenge ideas and allow us to raise the voices of those who need to be heard.”

The Rector of Liverpool, the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, says:

“We are delighted to be welcoming this work to Liverpool Parish Church. It is both thought-provoking and a powerful commentary on the war in Ukraine. The Church has a long history promoting the visual arts, and Liverpool Parish Church continues to do that in the 21st Century. I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts and reactions to the piece as they interact with it over the course of the next twelve months”.

Brigitte Jurack is an artist and Head of Sculpture/Time based arts at Manchester School of Art, UK, and co- founder of artists’ collective Foreign Investment. Born in Düsseldorf, she studied Protestant Theology and Fine Art at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Universities of Münster and Bonn before moving to the UK to study at Glasgow School of Art and Chelsea College of Art.

Her work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at Williamson Art Gallery (2022), FILET, London (2018) and IMMA, Dublin (2010) and inter/national group exhibitions including at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Bluecoat, Liverpool; Cornerhouse, Manchester; MIMA, Middlesbrough; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art; Telemar Museum, Rio de Janeiro and Oi!! Contemporary Art Centre, Hong Kong.

She has held fellowships at the British School at Athens, ICI Redcar, EKWC Hertogenbosch and the Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi. In 2007 she published Irfaran, Travel and Work, a book on the artist as globetrotting worker in the twenty-first century. Between 2010-12 she worked with young people towards the realisation of a suite of public sculptures, and currently she is co-researching sculpture making in Dementia Care settings.