The story of Arthur Dooley is one of legend. Born into a working-class family in Liverpool, he began sculpting while in an army jail (he was allegedly Gaoled for joining the PLO). After he left the military he entered St Martin’s School of Art, but not as a student. In his role as a cleaner, he would go around at night, critiquing the artworks and picking up the leftover materials to make sculptures of his own. When he came back to Liverpool he staged an intervention at the Walker Art Gallery in protest at the lack of local artists on show and protested at the high cost of exhibiting work at the Bluecoat gallery. He created tokens to be sold in support of the Fisher-Bendix strike and latterly campaigned for re-development of the Albert Docks, (a long time before anything was actually done). He is responsible for creating a fifteenth station of the cross, the Resurrection of Christ.
Which means that in my book he deserves to have a day named in his honour. That day is 17th January. To celebrate this the Florrie is hosting an exhibition of some of his available works, many donated by John McDonnell MP who paid a visit today. In an unusual twist to the day a local man who I know only as Norman arrived on the day asking if the Florrie would like to borrow a few of his collection. Yes, of course!
What a splendid collection it is too. As well as using recycled materials to make his modern sculptures he also made highly polished classical pieces, often with a religious theme. He was brought up a Catholic, but was a life-long communist. The indefatigable Tommy Calderbank has pulled a great exhibition together as well as writing a splendid new work based on Arthur’s life. More power to you Tom.
@TockyTom @TheFlorrie @AnneLundon1