Liverpool Love of My Life
Liverpool Love of My Life is a celebration of Liverpool and the incredible upbringing the artist, Chila Kumari Burman, had from her inspiring and enterprising parents
In her own words, Chila Kumari Burman describes the artwork as;
“A visual love letter to my city, this piece will record my own remarkable journey from a girl growing up on the backstreets of Liverpool, to a household name with my works held in multiple public collections and on display in exhibitions globally. Liverpool and my upbringing in this city, has played a significant role on the way I have come to perceive the world, and I’m honouring this at this year’s River of Light.
As well as celebrating my heritage and upbringing in this project, I’ll be drawing on the River of Light as a theme. Adorning the facade with a number of illuminating neon sculptures, and references to water. My parents travelled to Liverpool on the MS Batory ship, and this creates for me an emotive link with the harbour and the River of Light theme. Growing up I’ve also always had a link with the water, a keen swimmer and diver, I often depict water and its symbolism in my practice.
New neon pieces will mark a difference from my previous neon works, taking on a fresh new approach to form, line and composition. Derived from graphic line drawings, these new pieces will all be linked to the story of Ramayana which teaches us that it is not only possible, but necessary to ensure victory over evil forces. This message will resonate with the public at a time where we are all continuing to navigate life post pandemic. Other neons in Liverpool Love of My Life include an ice cream van, the classic screwball ice cream (both nods to my dad’s ice cream van) and a mermaid, again drawing on my childhood memories and trips to the Blackpool illuminations.”
With this commission falling over the Diwali period, the installation will be a joyful celebration of the festival of light. With the new graphic neons depicting symbols linked to this holiday, like the bow and arrow. In an effort to make the installation as sustainable as possible, some of the neon sculptures from previous public installations will be reused such as that of the goddess Laskhmi, baby Hanuman, the moon and the word joy. Like in much of Chila’s practice, this installation will represent her feminist beliefs and activism, in keeping with her drive to challenge stereotypes of South Asian women, Chila adds in her auto portrait to the installation.
Ultimately Chila’s intentions for the River of Light 2021 Trail installtion is to light up Liverpool Town Hall with a visual celebration of her hometown. Themes of identity and memory will be explored through symbolic neon sculptures and words and Chila will be taking inspiration from feminist perspectives, mythology and her Hindu Punjabi heritage. Ultimately this project will be uplifting, bright and colourful, it will bring joy to all who come to see it.
Event Date: Friday 22nd October – Sunday 7th November 2021
LOCATION: Liverpool Town Hall