With the Eurovision Song Contest just days away, preparations are already underway in the host city of Liverpool.
The Eurovision Village is under construction and there is a distinctly Ukrainian feel to the Pier Head.
Eurovision will take place at Liverpool after the United Kingdom was chosen to host the competition on behalf of the war-torn UkraineWhich one won the last contest.
There are some 24 installations, 19 of them by Ukrainian artists, to reflect this connection. Among them are the Soloveiko songbirds, a collaboration between artists from the UK, Ukraine and Australia.
Simone Chua, of the art group Amigos & Amigos, is part of the collective. He said: “It is important for us to talk about what is happening there, but also to bring some positive stories about Ukraine.”
Claire McColgan is Liverpool’s Director of Culture and oversees the art installations and creation of the Eurovision Village.
“There is a whole food program of Ukrainian food,” he said.
“A Ukrainian village is also being built here to showcase the culture, and there are commissions to make people think a little more deeply about exactly why the competition is here.”
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It will be the first time the competition has been held in the UK for 25 years.
There have been some concerns, mainly about the availability of tickets and the likelihood of a railway strike the weekend of the final.
However, the city is not discouraged and its EuroFestival starts today and lasts for two weeks.
The first semi-final will start on May 9, the second on May 11 and the final on May 13.