Liverpool Biennial’s Momentary Monument raises £1224 for Asylum Link Merseyside

Words, Jessica Fenna

This year’s edition of Liverpool Biennial may have come to an end but the most iconic piece of work, and arguably most successful, Lara Favaretto’s ‘Momentary Moment-The Stone’ has this week once again come into focus and proven its longevity.

The monolithic structure erected in the Welsh Streets, Toxteth, certainly captivated residents and visitors to the city alike. The Biennial commissioned Lara Favaretto to create a piece of work in response to the city and it is a testament to Liverpool and its residents that the work she produced would come to reflect the charitable, giving and welcoming nature of the city.

Passers-by were invited to drop money into the 24-tonne hollow granite bolder with all funds raised to be donated to a local charity of the artist’s choice – Asylum Link Merseyside.

Asylum Link is of critical importance to Liverpool, it provides a safe space for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, helping them to feel welcome in the community that they have found themselves in, through providing everything from a cup of tea to English classes and advocacy. Everything that Asylum Link Merseyside provides aims to help service users to overcome barriers that prevent them ‘from living in the community as equals.’ The work of the organisation reflects Liverpool’s history as a port city; it has always been a melting pot of cultures and its strength has often come from the diversity of its people.

Given the state of current affairs; Brexit, Trump and the deluge of pejorative headlines regarding immigration, the actions of the Biennial in supporting Asylum Link at this time therefore makes an important and powerful statement. This also comes at a time when contemporary art has been accused of being somewhat vacuous; failing to engage with the political upheaval of the real world. Take for instance the Guardian’s criticism of the latest edition of the Turner Prize for its lack of engagement with politics; Liverpool Biennial is proving once again that it does not shy away from the issues.

In total, £1224 was raised across the 14 week festival, with the money donated in 13 different currencies. This reflects the international reach of the Biennial as well as the international and multicultural nature of the city. As Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, has indicated the Biennial is for everyone in the city of Liverpool to engage with and its involvement with Asylum Link echoes this sentiment. The Biennial is reaching out to those new to the city, future residents of Liverpool and in the process hopefully proving how welcoming and inviting a city it can be.

Artist Lara Favaretto said: “I am delighted that my work for the Biennial has raised both money and awareness around the issues confronting refugees. The artwork is a part of a wider series questioning the temporary and transient nature of all public monuments. I chose Asylum Link Merseyside because of the vital role the charity plays in its local area and community. It addresses a most pertinent issue around the plight of asylum seekers internationally at this very moment.”

Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager for Asylum Link Merseyside, said: “To be told that the artwork had raised over £1,200 for our cause was fantastic. It provides important financial assistance and we could not exist without help like this. It’s very heartwarming that people will take the time to think about the asylum seekers who are arriving here. People have given their hard-earned money to help us do something about it and we are very grateful to them, and to Liverpool Biennial and Lara Favaretto, for making this possible.”

Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, said: “Lara Favaretto’s work was one of the highlights of Liverpool Biennial 2016 and attracted huge national and international attention. We’re delighted that it has also led to this donation to Asylum Link to support their vital work with refugees and asylum seekers.”

To find out more about the work of Asylum Link Merseyside visit http://www.asylumlink.org.uk/