The Super Lamb Banana

The Super Lamb Banana is a bright yellow sculpture located in Liverpool, England. Weighing almost eight tons and standing at 17 feet tall, it is intended to be a cross between a banana and a lamb and was created by Manhattan-based Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. It currently stands in Tithebarn Street, outside the Liverpool John Moores University Avril Robarts Library/Learning Resource Centre, having previously been located on Wapping near the Albert Dock.Cite web|url=|title=Superlambanana moves to new home|publisher=BBC News|date=2005-04-13 |accessdate=2008-09-01]

The sculpture spawned the commissioning of 125 individually designed, miniature replicas as part of Liverpool's year-long European Capital of Culture event.


The sculpture was created for the ArtTransPennine Exhibition in 1998, part of an initiative to create a 'corridor of art' through the North of England. [ cite book|last=Doran |first=Mike |coauthors=Barton, Chantal |title=Go Superlambananas Souvenir Guide |publisher=Peppered Sprout |date=2008 ] Liverpool's contribution, designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo, was the SuperLambBanana which was unveiled to the city at the reopening of Liverpool's branch of the famous Tate Gallery. An ironic comment on the dangers of genetic engineering, it was developed with the city specifically in mind as both the banana and lamb were once a common cargo in Liverpool's bustling docks.. The thinking behind Chiezo's SuperLambBanana was the creation of something that 'spoke of the future of 90's Liverpool'. He had previously visited the city and been inspired by the Queensway Tunnel's ventilation shaft, in particular the symbolism of how a vital piece of 1930's engineering had been incorporated into a broader 'sculpture' (or in this case an aesthetically attractive building). [ cite book|last=Doran |first=Mike |coauthors=Barton, Chantal |title=Go Superlambananas Souvenir Guide |publisher=Peppered Sprout |date=2008 ] Chiezo himself made only a four-inch model, and it was up to local sculptor Andy Small to recreate it on a scale of 1:50. It was created using a wire-mesh frame that supported a concrete and fibreglass shellCite web|url=|accessdate=2008-09-01|last=Ireland|first=Iain|publisher=icLiverpool |title=SuperLamBanana] and was developed at the former Bryant and May Matchworks factory in the south of the City at a total cost of £35,000. [ cite web |title=Superlambanana rescue |publisher="Liverpool Echo" |date=2007-03-27 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-16 ] The sculpture was at first considered controversial and there was scepticism regarding its purpose and value. However it soon became a popular symbol in the city and a valued piece of public art.

Life in the Liverpool

Since the sculpture's conception it was intended to move around the city and not remain in one location. It was originally located on the Strand near Liverpool's famous Liver Building and has since been located in several places including Williamson Square, Spike Island in Halton, Cheshire, [ cite web |title=SuperlambBanana Competition |publisher=Halton Borough Council|url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ] and on Wapping, close to the Albert Dock. Council leader Warren Bradley also suggested that the sculpture could be moved to Garston in the south of the city in the near future. cite web |last=Chapple |first=Mike |title=Superlambanana heading for its 'spiritual home' |publisher="Liverpool Echo" |date=2006-05-31 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ] Although its usual colour is yellow, the statue has occasionally been given a temporary repaint as part of a sponsorship arrangement. Colours have included pink, during a period of sponsorship by the breast cancer awareness charity Breakthrough,Cite web|title=What?|url=||accessdate=2008-09-01] the colours of a Friesian cow during a period of 'quasi-vandalism', and purple during the SmokeFree Liverpool campaign. [Cite web|title=Liverpool's SuperLambBanana has gone smokefree|date=2006-03-17|url=|publisher=SmokeFree Liverpool|date=2006-03-17|accessdate=2008-09-01]


There has been a great deal of speculation about the future of the sculpture after it emerged that it was only on loan to the city council from the artist and it had been suggested that the sculpture could be sold to Liverpool's neighbour Manchester.Cite web|url=|title=We can’t lose our Superlambanana statue icon|publisher="Liverpool Daily Post"|date 2008-02-15 |accessdate=2008-09-01] Talks between the Liverpool Culture Company and representatives of Taro Chiezo occurred in September 2008 although its long term future still remains unknown. [ cite web |last=Bartlett |first=David |title=Talks at last over future of Superlambanana |publisher="Liverpool Daily Post" |date=2008-09-11 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ]

Go SuperLambBananas!

As part of Liverpool's Capital of Culture celebrations, 125 two metre high replicas of SuperLambBanana were commissioned and located throughout Liverpool and the surrounding areas. The mini SuperLambBananas were developed in partnership between the Liverpool Culture Company and Wild in Art, with each one being sponsored by a local institution or business and designed by local community members. The miniature SuperLambBananas were on display for ten weeks, from the June to August 2008. [Cite web|url=|title=Go SuperLambBananas!|publisher=Go SuperLambBananas!|accessdate=2008-09-01] The "Liverpool Echo" partnered with the event, releasing a location map and guide of every mini SuperLambBanana to encourage locals to get involved. [ cite web |title=Every SuperLambBanana |publisher="The Liverpool Echo" |date=2008 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ] All but two of them were located within the Merseyside area. "Lovemedoodle" was located at Euston railway station in London for a short while until it was moved back to Liverpool Lime Street station [Cite web|title=Lovemedoodle gets the train...|date=2008-08-20|accessdate=2008-09-01|url=|publisher=The SuperLambBanana Store] , whilst "The Highest SuperLambBanana" was located on top of Moel Famau in North Wales and was sponsored by Denbighshire County Council. [Cite web|url=|date=2008-07-11|accessdate=2008-09-01|publisher=Denbighshire Free Press|title=SuperLambBanana]

At the end of their ten week run, the mini SuperLambBananas were auctioned off for the Lord Mayor's charities, with each having a guide price ranging from £3,000 to £8,000. [ cite web |last=Jones |first=Catherine |title=Superlambananas up for auction |publisher="Liverpool Echo" |date=2008-09-09 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ] The first of two auctions was held at St George's Hall on the 9 September 2008 with 68 SuperLambBananas up for sale. In total they sold for a combined sum of £550,000 or approximately £7,800 each, well above estimates. The highest bid on the night was £25,000, paid by the Chairman of National Museums Liverpool for 'Mandy' Mandala Superlambanana, whilst Phil Redmond, creative director of the Liverpool Culture Company, purchased four lots for a total of £55,000. A second, internet-based auction took place on 16 September 2008 with 25% of the proceeds going to charity. [ cite web |last=Jones |first=Catherine |title=Superlambanana auction raises £550,000 for charity |publisher="Liverpool Echo" |date=2008-09-10|url= |accessdate=2008-09-15 ]


External links

* [ Super Lamb Banana official website]
* [ SuperlambBananaStore]

Go SuperLamBanana!

* [ Official website]
* [ Superlambanana Map]

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