Why has Liverpool taken a mutant genetically modified fruitbeast to its heart? Why did this transient piece of eight tonne, vivid yellow flora-fauna find itself enmeshed with the city so much that, when the time came for us to give it back (it was only here for a trans-Pennine al fresco exhibition) we stumped up the £1million needed to buy him a place on the waterfront?
Designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo, the lamb’s moved around a bit and spent most of its time in Tithebarn Street, outside the Liverpool John Moores University Avril Roberts Library, though it’s now halfway between the Museum of Liverpool and Three Graces – but it’s fathered (or fruited) a flock of thousands of mini replicas across Liverpool.
Chiezo himself only created a four-inch model; the full-size replica was made by four local artists: Andy Small, Julian Taylor, Tommy Reason and Ray Stokes. The sculpture is said to be a comment on the ‘Frankenstein food’ of genetic engineering and is also heavily influenced by the history of Liverpool: sheep and bananas were common cargos in the city’s docks.