Liverpool: Invasion of the Superlambbananas

Liverpool is now famous for Superlambbananas. The original statue (pictured above) was created by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo and appeared at The Strand in the city centre during the nineties. It was 17 feet tall, bright yellow and was generally perceived rather sceptically by the Liverpool folk, including my teenage self and friends.

It was known to us as ‘that weird sculpture’. To be honest, it was not loved or understood by the majority of people. Plus, it just did not seem to fit in with its surroundings and was not exactly easy on the eye.

Fast forward a decade and what began as a not-too-popular artistic statement is now an appreciated quirky icon of the city.

In fact, many miniature ceramic replicas now exist at a number of locations – including outside the new Museum of Liverpool on the waterfront. These were created to celebrate Liverpool being named as European Capital of Culture 2008.

Businesses and organisations sponsored the project to produce Superlambbananas – 125 to be exact. They were different colours and had special themes. Suddenly the idea took off, and these multi-coloured sculptures were seen as vibrant, interesting and really fun. A huge buzz was created and there was even a Superlambbanana trail.

The original statue was designed to represent the dangers of genetically modified food, and was shaped to symbolize Liverpool port’s history, as trade in lambs and bananas had been prevalent. It is now located on the corner of Tithebarn Street and Vauxhall Road in the city centre, outside Liverpool John Moores University’s Avril Robarts Learning Resource Centre.

The Superlambbanana above is called Mandy Mandala. She is located inside the new Museum of Liverpool and was designed and made by local artist Patricia Lee, with people from Toxteth, Granby and Dingle. It consists of a glass mosaic and was inspired by eastern spirituality, celebrating Liverpool’s cultural diversity.

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