Building Peace through the Arts, Cootehill launch new art work
This project entitled ‘The Cootehill Harvester’ by the artist Tony Stallard has been organised by the Cootehill Building Peace through the Arts steering committee and funded by The Arts Council Northern Ireland. Tony has based his public sculpture around the theme ‘The Woven Fabric of our Community: People, Heritage and Diversity in Cootehill’ which reflects Cootehill’s unique history as an important linen centre and how this trade led to the rapid development of the town attracting people from diverse backgrounds. The sculpture is a bronze piece representing a working harvester. Tony says of his work " The design has been modelled so as to represent a heroic figure struggling hard with his work whilst at the same time showing an element of the harvesting with a hand full of flax. The design suggests harvesting in a field of flax and the public can imagine the large numbers at work within the field of flax, this heroic figure suggests a ghostly residue of the past entering into contemporary Cootehill".
In stage one of this project Susan F Hunter, artist/facilitator was involved in the community engagement. Consultation on themes relevant to Cootehill took place with the general public and with targeted groups. Susan met with 131 local residents through this process.
Roisin McDonough, chief Executive of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland said:
‘Building Peace Through the Arts is focused on using the arts to bring together communities. We are delighted to be unveiling many impressive projects, which are the culmination of community engagement, passion and dialogue. The lasting legacy of this project is much more than the wonderful artwork it produced, but also the coming together of people. We hope the people of Redhills take pleasure in what they have collectively achieved.’
Tony Stallard has met with a number of groups: including the Painting Group, Drumlin House and YouthReach and worked with them in clay to give people a sense of the artist’s own process. These workshops have involved local residents developing their own work in conjunction with the final placing of The Cootehill Harvester’ at Halton’s Park and this work will be exhibited at Cootehill Library in June. Cootehill Library staff facilitated the workshop and consultation process thorough the project.
This project is a partnership between Cootehill, Building Peace through the Arts steering committee, Cavan County Council and our funders the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Malachy Magee, Chair of the steering committee says ‘We are fortunate in Cootehill to have received this funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and I really consider that The Cootehill Harvester will be a welcome addition to Halton’s Park. In recent years we have received support from agencies including: Cavan Monaghan Leader, Breifne Integrated and Cavan County Council to develop the outdoor amenity at Halton’s Park. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland guided us throughout this process. After an open competition process we appointed Tony Stallard to deliver the public art work and we consider this piece represents the diversity of our community. I take this opportunity to invite everyone to come along to the opening on Saturday June 20 at 3pm in the Halton’s Park in Cootehill with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.’
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