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Liverpool Waters unveils a special Taiwanese sculpture for Liverpool Biennial

As part of the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool Waters is pleased to present a special installation by Taiwanese artist Eleng Luluan at Princes Dock.

The monumental sculpture, titled ‘Ali sa be sa be’ (2023), is based on a traditional earthenware pot, which is considered spiritual in Taiwanese culture. It draws inspiration from the artist’s memories of growing up in the indigenous Kucapungane community, a Rukai aboriginal village in the mountains of southern Taiwan.

Liverpool Waters unveils a special Taiwanese sculpture for Liverpool Biennial

Elena’s piece is very important to the indigenous community’s relationship with water, so its location at Liverpool Waters is a very fitting place from which to fully appreciate the 4m-high sculpture, which is made of steel and recycled fishing nets and is on display from now until September 21.

‘Ali sa be sa be’ depicts the legend of Rukai’s founder, who is said to have been born from a pottery jar guarded by two snakes. The title ‘Ali sa be sa be’ translates as ‘a large rock wall’ or ‘rock bed with sparse vegetation’ in the Rukai language, alluding to the landslides and typhoons that are common in the artist’s home region.

Climate change means that these natural disasters are increasing in frequency, forcibly displacing communities and fracturing their traditions and cultures. Through positioning the work between two bodies of water, the River Mersey and Princes Dock, and by using found and recycled fishing nets as a key material, Luluan asks us to consider our relationship to and reliance on water and to reflect on the devastating impact of climate change here and around the world.

This commission by Liverpool Biennial has been funded by a grant from the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture, alongside Liverpool Biennial core funding from Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council. 

Liza Marco, Asset Manager at Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, added:

“Eleng’s sculpture, and her story which inspired it, is fascinating and really gives a sense of her life and the culture of her community in the mountains of southern Taiwan. 

“We are very honoured to display Eleng’s work at Liverpool Waters and to be part of the Liverpool Biennial, which provides a platform to powerful contemporary artists from around the world.” 

For further information about artist Eleng Luluan please click here.

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