I love this painting. Chinatown is the second in the Hometown Liverpool series. Heavily influenced by Peter Blake’s Beatles artwork Chinatown represents the diverse multiculturalism of this vibrant city as the elaborately decorated paifang takes centre stage. The paifang has Buddhist roots and symbolises the guarded gateway into a precinct (fang) of a specific community (pai). Paifangs can now be found all around the world, the visual cue of entering Chinatown.
Coming from an immigrant Malaysian father, a merchant seaman Eusop (Eusaf), Chinatown played an important part in my Dad’s early life. In 1955, when he was 15, my Dad would spend time at the Chinese seamen’s shipping club in Nelson Street near to The Nook pub. This club was a favourite of his. It had a big telly in front of the table tennis table where all the kids would sit (telly being a rarity then) and a snooker table to boot. Here my Dad would watch the Chinese seamen gambling and playing mahjong.
Chinatown also depicts Strawberry Field. Strawberry Field back in the day was a home for naughty kids as I got told but it turns out it was a Salvation Army residential home for families. This is located on Beaconsfield Road near Calderstones Park in Woolton. At the top of the steep hill, at the junction of Quarry Street, is my old school St Francis Xavier’s College. I walked up that hill and past the Strawberry Field gates for the best part of seven years on my way to school usually getting the 72 bus that stopped on Menlove Avenue (yes that’s what it is called!).
The two cathedrals, Paddy’s Wigwam and the gothic styled Anglican cathedral play a minor role to the magnificent paifang which was completed in 2000. It was manufactured in Shanghai (Liverpool’s twin city) and erected by Shanghai workers.
The sign says Juan Ying Lai Li Wu Pu which is Welcome to Liverpool in Mandarin in recognition of the strength of Liverpool’s diversity, tolerance and cultural richness.
The cathedrals are connected by the Long and Winding (yellow brick) Road symbolising the journey to peace offered by Hope Street. The beautiful flowered gardens are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt’s landscapes and were inspired by my love of all things Secessionist, a hangover from my lovely SFX art teacher, Angela B Schofield (RIP), who turned me on to art big time. Thank you Miss.
The Beatles Story
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Professionally Printed On Bockingford Mould Made, Acid Free A3 190g/m2 Paper
Printed on A3 sized paper, the image is centered to leave an edge to help with mounting. Frame is not included. The print will be rolled and sent in a cardboard tube.