Artists are putting the finishing touches to a series of stunning globes set to be unveiled next month as part of a landmark public art project using the story of the transatlantic slave trade to promote racial justice.
The World Reimagined is a ground-breaking, national art education project aimed at transforming understanding of the ongoing impact on society of the trade in enslaved Africans.
Ten large globe structures will make up a free public art trail across the Liverpool City Region, bringing to life the reality and impact of transatlantic slavery and inviting the public to think about ways to make racial justice a reality.
The commissioned artists are creating colourful globes responding to themes ranging from ‘Mother Africa’ and ‘The Reality of Being Enslaved’ to ‘Still We Rise’ and ‘Expanding Soul’.
The project forms part of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Race Equality Programme, which was established by Mayor Steve Rotheram in 2020.
This programme includes a £3.2 million Race Equality Hub, the region’s biggest ever investment in tackling racial inequality.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “Our region has a long and storied past – and that hasn’t always fallen on the right side of history. Like many port cities across the world, our region played a shameful and prominent role in the transatlantic slave trade – a legacy that we’re still coming to terms with today.
“While it’s uncomfortable to face up to the shadier parts of our past, it is imperative that we are transparent about every aspect of our history, even that parts of it that we aren’t proud of. History gives us an opportunity to learn, to reflect, and to remember the lessons and mistakes of the generations before us – and ensure that they are never repeated.
“Our region’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths – it enhances our culture, enriches our lives, and makes our area one of the best places in the country to live and work. While we’ve come so far on our journey, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done to tackle racial inequality.
“As a middle-aged white man, I know that it’s my job to listen, to learn, and to amplify the voices of our black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. This is an opportunity to give a platform to more conversations around racial injustice and to show people in our communities that everyone has a part to play in the fight against discrimination. I want to ensure that we learn from the lessons of our past, to shape a better future for our city region – where no one is left behind.”
The project has been brought to the region by the Combined Authority, which is the main local sponsor and is co-ordinating all activity across the region’s six boroughs.
There will be a walking trail of five large globes located around Liverpool city centre, with a further large globe in Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral.
The region-wide trail will run from 13 August to 31 October and aims to provide an enjoyable and thought-provoking learning experience for people of all ages.
It will be the centre of a broader learning and engagement programme, with schools, community groups, and cultural institutions from across the city region taking part.
In addition to the larger globes, another 41 smaller learning globes will be created by 30 schools and 11 community organisations across the region.
Councillor Mike Wharton, Liverpool City Region Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and the Visitor Economy, said, “The World Reimagined is a hugely ambitious and thought-provoking project that will challenge us all to think about the legacy of our city region’s past and its continuing consequences today.
“At the same time, it will be a celebration of creativity and I am sure that these incredible artworks will be a huge attraction for people from across our city region and beyond.
We should never underestimate the power of culture to challenge, entertain and educate. I can’t wait for the project to open to the public in August.”
Image: Artist, Caroline Daly