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'Play me' pianos to pop up across Belfast

By Maureen Coleman

Brightly coloured pianos will be popping up all over Belfast during the next fortnight as part of a huge international arts project.

Ten artistically-decorated pianos will appear in public places throughout the city, with an invitation to passer-bys to ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.

The pianos have all been painted or decorated by local artists or community groups and will sit in parks, streets and squares — where anyone can stop by to tinkle the ivories.

Among the individuals and groups taking part in the interactive arts initiative are Heather Wilson, wife of Belfast singer/songwriter Peter Wilson (Duke Special).

Heather decorated her piano using aluminium, lighting, glass and photography as she worked to create a three-dimensional artwork.

Her piano, decorated as part of August Craft Month, will be the first one to be unveiled tomorrow at St Anne’s Square in Belfast.

Other artists include Claire Concannon, who has knitted a sweater for a piano, and Kev Largey, who has done an urban graffiti piece on his piano.

A number of community groups are also involved, including the Chinese Welfare Association for Northern Ireland, who painted their piano and the Royal National Institute for the Blind, who have transcribed lyrics by Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

The ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ project was the brainchild of British artist Luke Jerram, who has toured with it since 2008.

Ross McDade, who organised for it to come to Belfast, said it was hoped the project would challenge people’s perceptions of art and performance.

“The street pianos will be in place for two weeks from August 14-28 and we hope as many people as possible stop by to have a go,” he said.

“It is an interactive arts piece and also an inclusive arts piece, involving different individuals and groups.”

Jerram, who brought his ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ initiative to New York and London, said the pianos acted as a blank canvas for everyone else’s creativity.

“This is an opportunity for |people to express themselves and connect with one another,” he said.

Pianos will be installed at the City Hall, Cotton Court, Corn Market and Linenhall Library.

Background

Touring internationally since 2008 ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram. From August 14-28 2010, 10 Street Pianos will be distributed in various locations around the streets of Belfast.

Located in public parks, streets and squares, the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. For more information, visit: www.streetpianos.com/|belfast2010/ or www.craftni.org.

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