Illustration: Grace Collins & George Gibson, Extract From The Book of Sands, 2021

Independents Biennial
Until 06/06 – Various venues

Saturday 20 March saw the 22nd return of Independents Biennial, a grassroots celebration of the creative culture that’s brewing across the length and breadth of the Liverpool City Region. The festival will feature alongside Liverpool Biennial with a roster of emerging artists who will develop new and exciting perspectives on how Merseysiders perceive and create art around them. Through various disciplines, the artists in this year’s Independents Biennial focus on the art process itself, including how the artists approach their practice and how that practice might mutate throughout the duration of the programme.


Festival newsprint available to pick up at selected local supermarkets here.

Postponed from its original July 2020 start date, this year’s event will continue with the original cohort and see a combination of digital and live artworks that embody the effervescent creative spirit of the region. Working in partnership with the Open Eye Gallery, Montse Mosquera, Feiyi Wen and Sam Venables have taken over a digital window display and are working in residence through the duration of the programme. These artists will each explore themes of reverse culture shock when living in a foreign country, interpretations of landscapes from different cultural perspectives, and the re-use of closed public houses into McDonald’s restaurants.


Montse Mosqeura, Film Still from Too Foreign, 2021



Feiyi Wen, Extract from Under The Yuzu Tree, 2021


Sam Venables, Bonanza (Film Still), 2021

More Indy Biennial delights come in the way of a series of poems by quarterly creative zine ROOT-ed – which promotes and supports creatives of colour in the North West of England—and a project portrait by Mark Hobbs aimed at dismantling gendered views of male parenting.

Meanwhile, Emmer Winder’s  St. Helens Social Pharmacy invites everyone to share their own personal mantras, positive affirmations and phrases that have helped them get through the pandemic. The public’s positive advice will be transformed into prescriptions on medicine bottles and shared on Instagram (@socialprescriptiontracker) to promote a sense of collective wellbeing in the face of adversity.


“Screen Design, Pill A3”, Emmer Winder, 2021

Exploring the experiences of 2020 on a more community-focused level, Head of Photography at Carmel College Kevin Crooks and writer Callan Waldron-Hall are collaborating on a project in the Thatto Heath area of St Helens, which sees the combination of photography and redrafted anonymous written accounts from locals to create a snapshot of the area’s experiences and hopes for the future.

In keeping with her fauvist-esque portraiture, Metal Liverpool’ s multimedia artist-in-residence Sorrell Kerrison presents a new work exploring her experiences of motherhood, with a series of self portraits taken before and after childbirth.​ And in an intimate exploration of mother nature, SciArtist Jay Hampton aims to reappraise our perceptions of what we consider to be weeds. Hampton’s project assesses UK public spaces left unattended by councils as a result of lockdown, whose natural developments have created havens for a host of wildlife species that are re-emerging as symbols of tenacity and re-growth.

As we experience something of a rupture across our sociocultural zeitgeist – with #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, the murder of Sarah Everard and COVID all demanding a rethink of society’s inequalities – Sufea Mohamad Noor’s residence at Independents Biennial will investigate the evolution of diversity and inclusion terminologies used to describe racially marginalised groups, using academic research, exploring online activism and holding discussions with PoC and allies. Using research and her conversations, Sufea will also spend the next three months working at Metal Liverpool to produce text paintings in the studio as well as using Metal’s kitchen and garden to create a shared experience in a pandemic.

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