Independents Biennial returns to Liverpool with over 200 artists

Independents Biennial returns to Liverpool with over 200 artists

The 20th year of the Independents Biennial will see Liverpool flooded with over 250 works created by 200 Liverpool and UK based artists.

Running from 14 July – 28 October the festival, celebrating grassroots and emerging artists, will include five special commissions in the Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley and Liverpool.

The Independents Biennial runs concurrently to Liverpool Biennial and is the sister festival, profiling  the city region’s emerging and established artists. Instead of being asked to respond to a festival theme, artists are invited via open call. Festival events take place in galleries across the city region, in free trails at public sites and in reclaimed venues in Liverpool, including George Henry Lee’s department store, St John’s Market where there is an artist’s festival hub and 100 Seel Street. The festival programme shines a spotlight on independent visual arts talent, with open studio events, special exhibitions, performances and more across the four months.

Each of the festival commissions will take place in key locations across Merseyside, including Williamson Art Gallery, Rimrose Valley in Sefton and in St Helens town centre. Working in new and existing arts spaces, with a largely free programme, the festival will see communities come alive in celebration of the region’s creative life and offer a fresh perspective on how we see, make and use art in Merseyside.

The commissioned artists include:

Brigitte Jurack, Williamson Art Gallery, Wirral
Jurack will create a sculpture for the Green Gallery, a new space at the Williamson. Inspired by Oxton Road, one of the most culturally diverse roads in Wirral, the multi coloured and richly patterned rock will be bright and glossy, reflecting the multicultural nature of the street itself. Home to a much loved Iranian fruit seller, K&K, a Thai food store, Polish International food shops, a popular record store, Skeleton, hardware, model making and electronic shops, Oxton Road is a bustling independent network.

Kate Hodgson, St Helens
With an interest in print as a democratic art form, Hodgson’s work takes messages out of the confines of the gallery, and explores how print and performance can bring artwork to the people. In her most recent work, she poked fun at slogan t-shirts, with absurd messages designed to disseminate pointless information. For this commission she will respond to St Helens 150 year anniversary with a series of pop-up print workshops where artists, creatives and residents will invited to make screen prints for t-shirts, posters, tote bags and tea towels celebrating the town’s rich industrial past. Hodgson is one of the artistic directors at The Royal Standard.

Cath Garvey, Knowsley
Comic artist and illustrator, Cath Garvey will lead workshops in Knowsley that aim to empower young girls, while teaching the skills to create a unique character and printing their own comics. The workshops, Girl Comics, will run as a series, starting with words taken from local dialect and driven towards an exhibition of comics created by the young women of Knowsley.

The festival highlights include:

Rimrose Valley, an environmental art trail, Bootle, Sefton
Currently under threat with plans for a proposed expressway, Rimrose Valley is a strip of green space in the heart of Sefton. A collective of artists will create a site specific series of works using eco-friendly materials to be on display for the duration of the festival.

St John’s Market
In Liverpool, a series of emerging and recently graduated artists from RCA, LJMU and Liverpool Hope alongside artists and writers from Urban Sketchers and ROOT-ed Zine will takeover empty units in St John’s Market, the bustling undercover market in the heart of the city centre.

George Henry Lees
In George Henry Lees, which once housed the famous department store, will host three floors of exhibitions alongside a pop up cinema.

Seel Street Interventions
Artists from the Royal College of Art bring their unique brand of performance and intervention to 100 Seel Street. Expect provocative and thoughtful artistic moments in the public realm.

More great artists including abstract painters can be seen at this online art gallery: Gallery Today.


For more information on the events and artists featured in the festival, please visit the website here.


Edited by Sarah Watson

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Ally Goodman