Liverpool Biennial transforms three double-deckers with Arriva

Merseyside residents are invited to spot the ‘moving works of art’ en route around the region.

Liverpool Biennial, in partnership with Arriva Buses, has launched a major new commission, in which three Merseyside double-decker buses have been transformed into moving works of art.

Three double-deckers have been designed by contemporary artists. One has been transformed by pupils from Childwall Sports & Science Academy with Hato and the other two by artists Frances Disley and Ana Jotta. The buses are on the road throughout Liverpool Biennial 2016 festival of contemporary art – which runs until 16 October, and beyond. The buses carry passengers as usual and are travelling on different routes around North and South Liverpool and the Wirral.

The first bus – which launched in June – has been designed by Year 7 pupils from Childwall Sports & Science Academy, together with artists and designers Hato, and is part of the Biennial’s Children’s Episode. Entitled Hello Future Me, this ‘Space Bus’ contains coded messages to the future citizens of Liverpool, spelt out in an alphabet of newly invented symbols. The bus pays homage to messages taken on board NASA’s

Voyager spacecraft in 1977, which contained sound and images depicting life on Earth. Hato, a design practise based between London and Hong Kong, work with schools, institutions and community groups, among others, to develop creative experiences. They have previously worked with pupils from Childwall, as part of a Liverpool Biennial project in 2015.

Liverpool-based artist Frances Disley has also created a bus, entitled Blaze. Inspired by the success story of Liverpool-born Eunice Huthart, the only contestant on the 1990s TV game show Gladiators to go on to be a Gladiator herself, Blaze depicts the artist as a painted characters with the power to blend in to her own artwork. Disley (b.1976, Warrington) is one of ten Liverpool Biennial Associate Artists, based in the North of England. Her method is to use form and colour to expose the thought processes of an artist.

The third bus has been created by Portuguese artist Ana Jotta. This bus is painted to resemble a solid brick wall with a pattern reminiscent of the brick buildings the artist saw when she visited Liverpool for the first time. This bus forms part of the Monuments from the Future episode. Starting her career as a stage actress and designer, Jotta (b. 1946, Lisbon) has become known for her paintings and sculptures, blurring boundaries between art and life.

Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Arriva on such a significant project for Liverpool. After the success of Sir Peter Blake’s commission for the Mersey Ferry, this is an excellent opportunity for artists to collaborate with transport providers and take art to the streets, making connections across the city.”

Mark Bosworth, Marketing Director of Arriva North West said: “Liverpool Biennial is a key part of the city’s vibrant cultural programme and what really sets it apart are the varied locations it uses. We are really excited about the transformation of three of our buses into artworks. Their versatility is in their mobility and this will enable so many more people in the city to connect with the Biennial, while experiencing the many benefits of public transport”.

Residents looking to spot the buses en route can follow @arrivanorthwest on Twitter to find the buses’ routes each day.

Liverpool Biennial takes place from 9 July to 16 October 2016. For more information, visit www.biennial.com