Ken’s Corner: The Liverpool Lambanana

I hope the title of this ‘Ken’s Corner’ grabs your attention and, like me, you had, or have, no idea what a lambanana is.

Lambanana Liverpool

Developed for the 1998 Art Transpennine exhibition, the sculpture, first created by a Japanese artist, reflects Liverpool’s history, as lambs and bananas were, historically, common cargoes in the city’s docks. The artist aimed to present a sense of humour alongside the serious contemporary issue of genetic engineering.

He had previously visited the city and been inspired by the Queensway Tunnel’s ventilation shaft, particularly the symbolism of how a vital piece of 1930s engineering had been incorporated into a broader ‘sculpture’ or, in this case, an aesthetically attractive building.

For me, the Lambanana, and what it symbolises, speaks very truly of what we are trying to do in our industry, and it reflects the theme of our recent EXPO of working together in changing times well. This does not mean we have to change everything, but it does reflect the need to take what we have and improve it for the future.

We have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about the EXPO – a testament to its success. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the nearly 1,400 people who attended the event, the exhibitors and all the sponsors. It is clear that, as an industry, we are a force to be reckoned with when we act together.


One of the most inspiring comments I received was from someone outside of our industry, who commended the diverse nature and youth of the delegates. This is a vision that UKIFDA has been championing – we strive to encourage young people, whether it is through employing students from Liverpool University to help with the EXPO registration, or Manchester students playing so superbly at the President’s reception, or recognising the achievements of the industry’s young people with a dedicated UKIFDA award. It is heartening to see that our efforts are making a difference, and that past recipients of the award were present at the event.

By the end of the week, the UKIFDA team didn’t feel very young! I want to thank them once again for their dedication. Working 18- hour days under constant pressure to bring together such an event is as close to a miracle as we are going to get with just five people.

We may not get everything right, but I want to express my sincere gratitude to all those within the industry who took the time to say, ‘thank you’, whether it was in person or privately through email. Also, to those who have provided useful thoughts and suggestions as to how to make the event even better, your input is invaluable to us, and we truly appreciate it.

Like the Lambanana, I hope that UKIFDA, and the recent EXPO, can act as a symbol of combining the best bits of the past with the future.

I wonder what Leeds next year will bring – I look forward to meeting you all again then.

Image credit: Margaret Major