Eleng Luluan’s popular sculpture, which was installed at Princes Dock as part of this year’s Liverpool Biennial festival, will now remain at Liverpool Waters for the next five years.
Last month, the installation was scheduled to be removed. However, due to the piece’s impact and popularity at Princes Dock, waterside regeneration specialists Peel Waters have offered to extend its duration as well as commit to the sculpture’s upkeep and maintenance in order to encourage even more workers, visitors, and residents of Princes Dock and beyond to interact with the piece.
Liza Marco, Senior Asset Manager at Liverpool Waters, said:
“Visitors to Princes Dock have been flocking to see the sculpture, which is in a prime position for holidaymakers arriving on cruise ships, and we have received some great feedback.
“With many new businesses, as well as leisure and hospitality, opening up at Princes Dock, footfall has increased significantly and Luluan’s 4m high sculpture provides a visually exciting focal point on the dockside.”
The monumental sculpture, titled ‘Ngialibalibade – to the Lost Myth’ (2023), is inspired by a traditional Earthenware pot, which is revered in Taiwanese culture. It was inspired by the artist’s childhood memories of growing up in the indigenous Kucapungane community, a Rukai aboriginal village in southern Taiwan’s mountains.
Eleng’s piece is very important to the indigenous community’s relationship with water, so its waterside location at Liverpool Waters is a very fitting place from which to fully appreciate the sculpture, which is made of steel and recycled fishing nets.
‘Ngialibalibade The Lost Myth’ depicts the legend of Rukai’s founder, who is said to have been born from a pottery jar guarded by two snakes. ‘Ngialibalibade’ means ‘a happening’ or ‘a state of going through’ in the Rukai language. It is an adjective that describes the development of life, the transformation of the soul, the change in nature, the rapid development of technology, the visible changes in life, or the subtle ones that lurk in our hearts.
Landslides and typhoons are common in the Rukai region and are becoming more common as a result of climate change. These natural disasters frequently displace the communities and families who live there, uprooting the villagers’ lives and negatively impacting their cultures and traditions.
Luluan asks us to consider our relationship to and reliance on water, as well as the devastating impact of climate change here and around the world, by situating 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.
“We are very honoured to display Eleng’s work at Liverpool Waters. Her 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.”
The Alliance Cultural Foundation, the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan, Liverpool BID Company, the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.), and the Asian Cultural Council, Taiwan Foundation South 33 Branch all contributed to this commission.
Liverpool Waters is part of Peel Waters, a UK-wide portfolio of vibrant and innovative waterfront developments that deliver large-scale, sustainable regeneration projects across the country, creating jobs, economic growth, new homes, and new public realms.