Superlambanana 'licence' means statue can stay in its Liverpool home

Superlambanana sculpture painted in Ukrainian national flag colours
-Credit: (Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

Liverpool Council has had to secure a special licence to keep one of the city's most famous artworks in place.

Since its creation in 1998, the superlambanana has become a symbol of Liverpool and linked to a number of events and causes close to the hearts of the people of the city. After taking on a life of its own, a permanent sculpture was initially moved around the city but has found a home on Tithebarn Street.

Owing to the ownership of the land, the city council has had to take out special terms with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to keep the bright yellow installation in place for another three years.

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The superlambanana was first seen before the turn of the century as part of an initiative to create a corridor of art through the north of England. Combining two of the city’s most common cargo in its trading days, the unique design was introduced to coincide with the reopening of the Tate Gallery at the Albert Dock.

The project was the brainchild of Japanese artist Taro Chiezo and was developed at the former Bryant and May Matchworks factory in Speke. It had been intended for the sculpture to move around the city and it has previously been seen at Williamson Square and Wapping.

It finally found a permanent home on Tithebarn Street before being replaced by a replica in 2019 after more than 20 years of wear and tear took its toll. However, owing to a unique land agreement, Liverpool Council has had to enter into a special licence with LJMU to keep the sculpture in place.

The council and the university’s learning resource centre development have agreed terms for the lambanana to stay with a former agreement agreed almost five years ago having ran out. The new terms will ensure the large yellow artwork will stay at the edge of the city centre until at least December 2027.

The council will need to pay fees of £1,228.32 plus VAT to LJMU and its legal and surveyor fees incurred in connection with the grant of this licence. A report outlining the decision made by council officers said there are no other direct financial implications for the council in entering the licence.

It added: “However, there may be a potential future cost upon termination or expiry of the agreement as the council is required under the conditions of the licence to reinstate the property upon removal of the SLB replica.”

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