The iconic Clapping Hands art animation which has been beamed across buildings around the world has now appeared on landmark buildings in Southport and Bootle.
A huge pair of clapping hands, created by denim artist Ian Berry, celebrated NHS staff and other key workers on the frontline against coronavirus during Clap For Carers night last night.
The stunning visual image was projected onto the facades of Southport Town Hall, The Atkinson and Bootle Town Hall, along with pictures of rainbows, which have come to symbolise hope and better times ahead after the storm of Covid-19 has passed.
Also making an appearance was the iClapFor hashtag, which encourages people to express who they are clapping for each Clap For Carers night.
The event was made possible by Sefton Council and Stand Up For Southport co-owner Phil Gee.
The Clapping Hands projection has been seen in cities across the world such as Edinburgh Castle and the Baltic Newcastle and as far away as Mexico and New York.
Ian Berry said: “We were told to wash them, not to hug with them, to not greet with them, but what did we do with them? We clapped them. From Merseyside to Mexico, communities applauded in a somewhat simple gesture, but powerful and often emotional combined.”
Artist Ian Berry, originally from Huddersfield and now based in London, had made an applause animation from two pieces of art combined to make an animation showing the clapping motion. Ian is known worldwide for his art in denim and it is with this material in which he made them, fitting a healthcare blue.
Sefton Council and Ian Berry worked together to bring this together, fitting it being on a Thursday night when Clap For Carers is held.
A Sefton Council spokesman said: “We are very excited to be the first area in the Merseyside region to be showing this powerful piece by Ian Berry, especially as it has been shown across the world.”
Ian’s sister Fiona, a charity worker and poet, lives in Birkdale so came to watch.
Southport photographer Angus Mateson, owner of Wainwright & Matheson Photography, was delighted to be on hand – literally – to take the pictures.
The pieces of art animated are now showing up on cities all over the world, from Newcastle to New York. They are also lighting up the length and breadth of the country, from John O’ Groats in the North to Portsmouth in the South, with a series of networks of projectionists – like Andrew Hall – who has many friends and clients around the country.
The batman-like beam has also been spotted in East London where Ian now lives and works from his studio.
He was moved by the clapping, at 8pm on Thursdays in the UK weekly event. His son couldn’t wait for Thursdays to come, asking ‘is it Thursday yet?
It was Ian’s son Elliott, six, who took the photo of his hands as he was being home schooled. Ian sent it on as a greeting card to say thank you to some of his friends in the health service, many who had been ill
While watching a film on a projector it was Elliott who said: ‘Can we put the clapping on there?’
Soon they were beaming it off the balcony and an idea was born.
The Clapping Hands artwork now features on electric billboards and is being captured by drones in Sweden, opening the Autocinema Coyote in Mexico City and playing in Greensboro, North Carolina, aka ‘Jeansboro’, and Medellin in Colombia, famed for Narcos.
But it’s not just on iconic buildings -firefighters Firean gather around it and people have projected it during their weekly clap on sleepy residential streets around the UK.
Ian asks the question, who do you clap for? Using the hashtag #iclapfor
He wants people to highlight their friends, family or organisations they clap for.
He said: “When my friend who works at Leeds General Infirmary was sick, I would send her the videos of the clapping in my area that was so loud. I made the hands a five weeks ago while she was at home sick.”
There have already been hundreds of reactions to the question, and some will get beamed on future projections to give thanks to those we clap for.
Ian said: “Of course the streets are pretty empty so it’s good to get somewhere where people can see from home or frontline workers can see as they go past. We shouldn’t forget all what these people have done.
“Telling my son what the clapping was for and explaining individuals like his auntie, who is on the corona team in Lund Hospital in Sweden, have seen him having his new heroes.”
Ian added: “‘While clapping is a nice gesture, and has brought many communities together, it is noted they need money and support. Well, let’s use this platform to try and raise some money for the NHS Charities Together and a platform for good, like making the projections into projected art galleries inviting more artists.”
Ian Berry along with some friends launched the website www.iclapfor.com where people will be able to leave messages for who they clap for as well as fundraising initiatives. They will be soon asking other artists to submit their hand clapping.
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About Ian Berry
Ian Berry is known around the world for his work making layered and textured pieces out of only denim jeans. He was named a top 30 artist under 30 in the world and also named a top 50 most influential person in denim last year, with Hailey Bieber and the Hadid sisters. He has shown his work around the world in Galleries, museums and Art fairs. He will soon unveil an installation in San Francisco which was postponed for the coronavirus.
His work is much more than being made in denim, often depicted scenes of isolation, becoming even more topical in these times. He also looks at the changing fabric of our urban environment, making scenes of vanishing places like launderettes, pubs, and newsstands.
He is also known for doing official portraits of Armani, Debbie Harry and Ayrton Senna out of his family members’ jeans.
Ian has a busy schedule coming up with museum coming up at the Levi’s Museum, Germany, Museum Rijswijk in Holland, in Basel along with Huddersfield Art Gallery and the National Textile Museum of Sweden.
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