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Flagging Down May Day – Sefton Park

International Events …Flagging Down May Day, London Biennale and Liverpool
David Medalla (London Biennale) and Adam Nankervis (Museum Man, Liverpool, England), Concept and Project Initiator
Liverpool Event Co-ordinated by Jo Derbyshire and supported by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and George Lund (Part of Transvoyeur)
Photographed by Tony Knox
Article Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and Lucia Sweeney

Sunday 30 April 2006

On Sunday 30 April 2006, a group of Liverpool artists met on the iron bridge in Sefton Park, Liverpool, England. This was a prelude to the Flagging Down May Day event by the London Biennale and a contribution by Liverpool artists.

The London Biennale in association with other international artists are collaborating to produce a global cultural and shared experience. Flagging Down May Day is a large intervention event happening in cities where artists and artisans have created flags with visual symbolism to come together in unification. This was conceived by the Adam Nankervis (Museum Man Gallery, Liverpool) and David Medalla (Co-Founder of the London Biennale). Artists in London and similar in Liverpool and other cities are contributing to these ‘happenings’.

The Liverpool collective of artists was organized by Jo Derbyshire with the support of Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and George Lund on behalf of Nankervis with Tony Knox photographing. He, along with Medalla, are co-ordinating the London Biennale event of Flagging Down for London Bridge at 6.00 pm on Monday 01 May 2006.

In Liverpool, the artists arrived and together they hung their flags on the railings of the bridge, while others held them aloft. Passers-by stopped curious at the collection of images on the flags. A fusion of diverse styles of contemporary art practices from the conceptual to the figurative and a mixture of materials and themes.

A performance by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and Jo Derbyshire then followed. Sweeney becomes the object and structure, as is the bridge, to share in this event. Derbyshire hangs a collection of flags across Sweeney’s body, the imagery of which is a reproduced foetus with the artists face and the text ‘urban culture’. The bridge and body denoting time encapsulated to the venue of the bridge, its history and that of the city and people of Liverpool.

The location for the Liverpool Flagging Down was selected by Derbyshire. The iron bridge in Sefton park is a famous location of a tragic love story as told by the ghost Liverpool writer, Tom Slemen ( The tale is one of two lovers from different social backgrounds. The man from an affluent family and the female lower echelons in a day such things were frowned upon. On the knowledge he is to marry another chosen by his family. She, distraught, takes her own life and it is said to this day she haunts the bridge, the place of their rendezvous waiting for him.

Similar to the history of the city of Liverpool it has been one of socio-political and economic extremes and at times these transitions in conflict. From the wealth imbued in the architecture throughout the city, structural artefacts of a time, when through merchant trade Liverpool was one of the most prosperous places. However, through the drastic shifts and changes, the city has experienced extreme social and economic deprivation in more recent decades. The historical essence of the city is one of the paramour waiting in abeyance.

On the precepts of the London Biennale, Nankervis and Medalla’s Flagging Down and unification we join ‘her’ to celebrate a city of culture. Liverpool, the city and the place, as artists, residents and generations of lovers before in time and now one in a state of flux again. A renaissance and redesign, but this time as ‘lovers’ joined with no divide. The outcome yet to be realized for the city of Liverpool, but it is one we all hold a role to play as artists and people here.

The artists and galleres who contributed and participated in this event in Liverpool are:

Individual Artists
Alison Bazely, Joseph Brown, Michelle Campbell, Jo Derbyshire, James Katherine Doran, June Rose, H Karen Henley, Tony Knox, George Lund, Eddie Lyons, Tommy McHugh, Amanda Oliphant, Carolyn Sinclair, Jazamin Sinclair, Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney, Peter Worthington, Michelle Wren.

Art Groups/Galleries
South Bohemia Gallery Artists (Peter Worthington, Curator).

Transvoyeur Artists
UK Artists: Agata Al Caniz, Gianni Bianchini, Jo Derbyshire, Dorrie Haliday, Elizabeth Heritage, George Lund, Cath O’Shea, Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney, Gary Sollars, Ben Youdan

US Artists: Michael Ricardo Andreev, Chris Borkowski, PJ Cobbs, Rodney Dickson, Stephan Fowlkes, Aaron Miller, John Sebastian, Raphaele Shirley, Lee Wells.

Long Journey Home Group
Carolyn Sinclair, Andrew Reid, Jazamin Sinclair, Karen Henley, Julie Nylander, Yemi Abisola Parabhen, Jo Derbyshire, Katherine Doran and others.

Ian Jackson (Art in Liverpool).