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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 08:11 GMT
Emin unveils 'sparrow' sculpture
Tracey Emin unveils her sculpture
Tracey Emin said the sculpture was inspired by the city's Liver Bird
Artist Tracey Emin has unveiled her first piece of public art in Liverpool on Thursday.

The Roman Standard - which features a small bird on top of a four-metre high bronze pole - is a tribute to the city's famous symbol the Liver Bird.

The sculpture was commissioned by the BBC as part of their contribution to the art05 festival and Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

It stands outside The Oratory, in Upper Duke Street by the Anglican Cathedral.

Emin said the sculpture, which cost the BBC 60,000, represents strength and femininity.

The bird, which is the size of a sparrow, disappears when viewed from the front and only reappears as the viewer moves left to right.

Magic and alchemy

The Turner Prize nominee said she chose Liverpool for its "neo-Roman" architecture.

She said the sculpture would be a symbol of "hope, faith and spirituality", adding: "Liverpool has been one of my favourite cities since I first visited.

Tracey Emin and Alan Yentob
The BBC paid 60,000 for the sculpture

"I've always had the idea that birds are the angels of this earth and that they represent freedom.

"My Roman Standard represents strength but also femininity. Most public sculptures are a symbol of power which I find oppressive and dark.

"I wanted something that had a magic and an alchemy, something which would appear and disappear and not dominate," she said.

The sculpture has been installed behind The Oratory gates.

It will stay there until 2008, when it will be found a new home in a BBC building, as part of the corporation's art collection.

Julian Treuherz, keeper of art galleries for National Museums Liverpool, said: "Tracey's sculpture will bring a new dimension to an area of Liverpool already rich in great historic buildings and historical associations."

Her previous works, such as Everyone I Have Ever Slept With - a tent with names embroidered on it - have provoked debate about the direction of modern art in the past.

Art05 is the second annual Arts Council England event for the North West.

Ms Emin will present two 10,000 cheques to the winners of art05 at the unveiling of her sculpture.

Your comments

To all the people who complain about the cost, please try to understand that yes, to you, it might seem like a lot of money, but in reality public sculpture does cost a lot! Your arguments should not concern the price but reflect on the art work, appropriateness of location, meaning of the piece. Try thinking a bit rather that reacting!
Joe, Manchester

It's great to see money being spent on something as important as this. Emin's work has inspiration and this is another example of her high standards!
Tom Blant, Southend, England

Waste of taxpayers' money. How much money was really spent on the sculpture and what was her fee? An open contest for University Art students should had brought much interesting proposals for a 60,000 project
Ed M H, Leeds, UK

This sculpture is a work of somebody who understands how the ordinary can influence discussion. Liverpool should be grateful that such a high profile artist has provoked such debate about an original installation in their city - especially in the run up to 2008.
Paul Davis, Bristol

How much? 60,000 of taxpayers' money on something you need a pair of binoculars to see. The phrase "rip-off" comes readily to mind. I would have done this for a tenth of the price.
Chris, Boston, USA

How on earth can the cost of this be justified
Ali Maxwell, Alva, Clackmannanshire
How on earth can the cost of this be justified? 60,000 for a little bird on a pole - that's ludicrous. I'd also like to know if the money from my TV licence was used to pay for it. Art? The world's gone mad!
Ali Maxwell, Alva, Clackmannanshire

This so called "art" is an insult to the people that have paid for it, a pole with what appears to be a sparrow is not worth 60,000.
A Tornaway, Chatham England

How much did they pay for that? Fair enough its kind of nice but really is that art? I think people have lost sight in what art actually is these days. Anyone can produce anything they have made and call it art and if people don't like it they just say that they don't understand the piece. Enough is enough - I mean a bird on a pole is art?
Mark Matthews, Coventry, UK

As someone who doesn't live in Liverpool or attend BBC buildings how on earth is this going to impact upon me - apart from causing feelings of anger and disbelief. I'm sure that the majority of comments will be of a negative disparaging nature and as such this should be taken into consideration, especially when TV programs can be canned when a handful of people (out of millions) phone the BBC to complain.
Dave Kilroy, West Yorkshire

60,000?! For 59,995 I'll sit at the top of a pole and tell everyone how great Liverpool is.
Dan, Manchester

How does she get away with creating such rubbish?
Janice Spence, London

I see that you are spending our licence fee totally inappropriately. Not only is 60k a ridiculous amount for a pathetic excuse for a sculpture, but what's that got to do with providing a quality broadcasting service?
Stephen Tiley, Aldershot, Hampshire

Tracey Emin explains what the sculpture means

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