Letting it BE

Aerial film reveals amazing monumental painting in Birmingham’s Centenary Square.

A short aerial film launched today reveals a monumental painting in Birmingham’s Centenary Square. Entitled Leviathan, it was created by Madrid-based artist, An Wei Lu Li, as part of the city’s BE FESTIVAL.

BE FESTIVAL, Birmingham’s festival of European theatre and visual arts, commissioned An Wei to create the huge artwork that covers the surface of Centenary Square as an opening to this year’s festival, which starts today, Tuesday 22 June. The artwork references Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651) and over time, as the public walk across the figure, it will slowly vanish. In his book Hobbes uses the body as a metaphor for the state and its constituent parts.

An Wei’s Leviathan measures 24m x 30m, it took 9 days to complete in between torrential down pours, lots of night time working and additional help from a team of 7 dedicated volunteers. Over 100 litres of Morning Mist – a type of quick drying floor paint – was used along with 20 tins of anti-slip powder, several litres of dye and 20 rollers.

The artwork is the centrepiece of BE FESTIVAL’S visual arts exhibition, Democracy, which features five other large scale artworks, all by An Wei, across Birmingham city centre and also within the BE FESTIVAL hub at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where the festival takes place from 21 – 25 June.

Isla Aguilar and Miguel Oyarzun, Co-Directors of BE FESTIVAL said: “An Wei’s ambitious Centenary Square artwork is best viewed from above and the Library of Birmingham offers a great vantage point. The colossal human figure questions the values and moral responsibilities prevalent in democratic societies and forms part of this year’s visual arts exhibition, Democracy. We hope that An Wei’s series of new art works will make an unmissable mark on Birmingham’s landscape.”

BE FESTIVAL is a week long celebration of European performance that takes place at Birmingham Repertory theatre each year in June. This year’s festival takes place 21-25 June, with a packed programme of theatre, dance, circus, visual arts, live music, workshops, talks and food.

Democracy will be open daily 21st-25th June from 10am–10pm. Entrance is via the back of The Rep theatre on Cambridge Street and admission is free. Other artworks include: Demo-crazy on Tennant Street, The Golden Key on the Grand Union Canal and Untitled on Bromley Street. A map of the artworks located around the city can be found at www.befestival.org