Reflecting on ‘Being Human’
Today, a free exhibition called ‘Being Human’ by renowned sculptor and artist, Peter Walker, was launched at Liverpool Cathedral.
The exhibition features four interactive art installations that explore what it means to be human.
Peter Walker said: “The whole idea is to talk about what it means to be human in a modern world.
“It’s broken down into zones, which all reflect on something we go through in life. It takes us on a journey through different elements.”
At the heart of the exhibition is ‘Connection’, a sculpture featuring two giant hands that each tower at two metres high.
The sculpture is a contemporary twist on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece, the ‘Creation of Adam’, which features Adam reaching out to God’s finger.
When one walks between the hands, they will come across a huge double helix model, which represents science.
Peter said: “The DNA is all about science and how discovery is part of who we are as humanity. We find out about the world around us.
“We know that recently with vaccines. If we hadn’t had that, what would the world look like?
“As you walk through the two hands the idea is about reconnecting. We’ve all been through difficult things and there are things we need to reconnect to. We’re always looking for connections with other people.
“It’s about families, friends, relationships, about loss; all of that can be imparted from looking at this artwork.”
Music by Peter’s colleague, David Harper, accompanies the exhibition, which in itself is part of ‘Being Human’.
Peter said: “It really sets the tone. It’s David playing an instrument himself, and that’s something really personal about what it is to be human. About music and sound and voice.”
Following this is ‘Identity’ which sits on the right side of the Cathedral, which is inspired by a photobooth.
Visitors can have their picture taken at this exhibition, which will be part of an artwork next year.
Peter said: “It’s like having your passport taken. The picture will then appear on the screen, on an easel, and you become an artwork in the Cathedral.
“Because for me, these buildings were often built for the rich and the famous, but everyone is equally important in the world.
“So, the fact that you can appear as an artwork is all about this place saying it’s for you.”
Next to this installation is ‘Creativity’, which is a representation of Peter’s own studio.
Peter said: “It has my studio desk, my turntable, and in-front of that you’ll see loads of sculptures and paintings that I’ve produced over the years.
“The idea there is that creativity is central to who we are.
“We all love to play; we all love to make things. The older we get maybe we lose time to do that, but the more we can connect with our creative side, the better.
“That’s all about what it means to be creative as a human, and trying to inspire people.”
There is an area by ‘Creativity’ where visitors can draw their own self-portrait.
The final installation on the left-side hand of the Cathedral is ‘Reflection’, featuring 5000 metal leaves – ‘the Leaves of the Trees’.
Every leaf is engraved with the word ‘HOPE’.
Peter said: “It is a reflective COVID memorial. It’s not just about the people who lost their lives, it’s about our own experiences.
“We all had a difficult experience going through COVID, so it’s about taking a moment out, looking at these leaves.
“The nearest ones to you are rusty, and in the distance they’re shiny. This is all about time, and that’s why the material is corroded in one place and lighter in the other place.
“The idea here is in a couple of months’ time the leaves will start to fall, but the great thing about nature is those leaves then feed, and in the spring, we have new life and new growth.
“There is always hope, and there is always possibility in the future.”
‘Being Human’ forms part of a two-year programme of events, exhibitions and artworks leading up to Liverpool Cathedral’s 100th anniversary, which falls in 2024.
The exhibition is open from 10am – 6pm daily between 27 July – 30 August.
For more information about ‘Being Human’ and the events programme at Liverpool Cathedral, visit liverpoolcathedral.org.uk