Belonging was commissioned by Walker Gallery for the 2012 Liverpool Biennial, the UK Biennial of Contemporary Art. It is the largest international contemporary art festival in the UK. For ten weeks every two years the city of Liverpool is host to an extraordinary range of artworks, projects and a dynamic programme of events. Leading and emerging artists have been commissioned to make permanent and temporary public artworks as well as long-term community-based projects. Works by over 60 artists from across the globe, unfold across the city in its major galleries.
Belonging responds to the Biennial theme of the ‘Unexpected Guest’. Banished from city centres and branded a nuisance, pigeons became a familiar sight at the Walker Art Gallery during the Biennial, when around 205 brightly coloured birds adorned the exterior of the gallery.
Belonging elevates the very familiar site of pigeons from their everyday urban context; here they are welcome, colourful visitors. However the installation also evokes questions about ownership and feelings of being accepted or marginalised. Anthropomorphised, the pigeons can be seen to represent any group that struggles to find a natural home or sense of acceptance in a physical or geographical space.
Patrick Murphy said, “Belonging will engage audiences with its bright colour compositions, but there’s actually a deeper meaning behind the installation. The emblem of the pigeon is used to highlight the very human struggle in finding acceptance or a natural sense of place, whether this be an intellectual or a physical/geographical homeland”