Flying high with Andrea Ku

Reflecting back on Andrea Ku's latest commission at the Bluecoat, Fly High, which featured beautiful illuminated butterflies installed in the trees at the front of our courtyard.

Date posted

10 July 2024

As humans there’s so much we can learn about life through species that have been on the planet for much longer than we have.”

It’s been a few weeks since Andrea Ku’s butterflies illuminated the Bluecoat for the last time, but the temporary nature of their residence high-up in the 100-year-old London Plane trees was fitting.

As Andrea puts it, “I wanted to depict the resilience of nature during and after conflict, the way it strives to continue its community’s legacy by flying higher and further. Butterflies are beautiful, they are resilient, but there’s a sense of fragility as well.”

Fly High was installed as part of the anniversary celebration of Eurovision in Liverpool, marking how the city shone brightly during that period and continuing to show solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

The blue and yellow butterflies represent typical Ukrainian species that have been displaced from their habitats and landscapes. They are symbols of nature coming together and overcoming challenges to protect each other and survive. Illuminated brightly in School Lane the butterflies were a poignant reminder of the millions of people who have been displaced in Ukraine but will hopefully return when the region is safe.

An artist, beekeeper and gardener, Fly High also shines a light on the importance of biodiversity, something that runs through Andrea’s creative practice.

The butterflies were constructed from locally sourced willow and dogwood from Sefton Park with stretched lantern paper and made during workshops with Four Oaks Primary School in Anfield as part of the Bluecoat’s Blue Room programme.

As Andrea says, “We can learn lots from the natural world and it’s important that we take every opportunity to do that. Using material sourced locally with the children in the workshops helped them to connect with their environment and the role we all have in future proofing it.”

Andrea’s practice is led by community-based hands-on activism to collaboratively learn and build together. Inspired by the public response to Fly High Andrea is going to create more lantern work as part of an ongoing residency with Metal, “I’m really excited about the next stage of The Picton Play project, we’re engaging the local community in Botanic Park in a really creative way.

Whether it’s the butterflies in Fly High or her new work at Botanic Park, Andrea’s passion for bringing together community, biodiversity, and art gives people a safe space to explore their experiences and the natural world around them.

We’re looking forward to seeing where it takes her next.

Fly High was funded by Culture Liverpool.