image

THE BRIDGE: Fiacha Dhubha Fhionglaise ar Foluain (Finglas Ravens Soar), Source: Sculpture Dublin

New sculpture for Dublin suburban park co-created by locals

New sculpture for Dublin suburban park co-created by locals

The artwork by Sara Cunningham-Bell celebrates local culture and contributes to a sense of shared identity

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland will unveil on Saturday, 13 November a new symbolic sculpture by artist Sara Cunningham-Bell in Finglas' Kildonan Park, informs the city website. What makes the occasion extra-newsworthy is that the seven-metre-tall sculpture has been created in close collaboration with the local people of this outer suburb of Dublin.

Symbols and signs

THE BRIDGE: Fiacha Dhubha Fhionglaise ar Foluain (Finglas Ravens Soar) comprises two figures with arms high in the air, holding a mirrored steel ‘river rug’ that is interwoven with symbols and signs of Finglas life.

The central shape of the artwork and the choice of materials are the product of public consultation with a number of pre-set requirements. These are:

  • to honour the contribution of women to community and city life;
  • to create a positive-spirited landmark for the neighbourhood – highly visible and made of durable materials;
  • and to instil a feeling of ownership and pride in an art piece that celebrates local culture and contributes to a sense of shared identity.

Historical references

‘The Bridge’ in the title is drawn from local suggestions (and there have been over 70 of them), and ‘Finglas Ravens Soar’ is inspired by Rachael Hegarty’s poem, ‘Flight Paths Over Finglas’. 

In the sculpture’s texture historical references abound - from the 9th century Nethercross in St. Canice’s Graveyard, to the ‘Claíomh Solais’ (Sword of Light) designed by local artist Una Watters to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week in April 1916.

The sculpture pays homage to Eliza Wollstonecraft Bishop, an advocate of female education in the early 1800s, and Sophie Pierce-Healy, a celebrated pilot of the 1920s, pictured flying her plane ‘The Silver Lining’ at Kildonan Aerodrome, Ireland’s first commercial airport. The artwork incorporates the word ‘Finglas’ written in the Early Medieval Ogham alphabet, and its title holds a reference to the Norse black raven, associated with Viking Dublin. 

Reflections of artistic and sporting life 

Present-day life in the neighbourhood is also represented. The commissioned sculpture includes visual references to the artistic and sporting life of the locality; from the Uilleann Piper, Séamus Ennis and contemporary rap artist, Temper-Mental MissElayneous, to popular sports like hurling, football and boxing and park pastimes, such as running and dog-walking. 

The outline of faces and figures of local people – epitomizing those who gave insight and clues to Sara Cunningham-Bell over the past year - have been engraved into the body of the sculpture. This gesture is seen as celebrating the ‘unsung heroes’ of everyday life – wives, mothers, parents, grandparents, community activists, care workers – people who symbolise the often unnoticed behind-the-scenes work that enriches homes and neighbourhoods not only in Ireland.

Participative commission

Throughout the year, hundreds of local residents have engaged with Sculpture Dublin and the Kildonan Park commission by responding to online surveys, questionnaires and calls for ideas. They also took part in over 40 creative workshops, focus groups, public meetings and other activities. 

No doubt, all of them are expected to be present at the public launch of the sculpture in Kildonan Park tomorrow at 2pm. The event will feature performances by Finglas artists, the Ní Anglais Irish Dancers and The Forever Young Chorus.

Newsletter

Back

Growing City

All

Smart City

All

Green City

All

Social City

All

New European Bauhaus

All

Interviews

All

ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU

Latest