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Public Art

I have produced a substantial amount of public art work in the north of Ireland, most of these have been in the Belfast area.  Most of my public work has been produced in circumstances where I have worked closely with communities, schools and other groups.

Click on any example image to reveal the full size.

Title: Belfast Falgs

Location:  St. Patrick's College, North Belfast and Ashfield Boys School, East Belfast

Material:  Original designs printed as bunting flags.

Background
Flags in this part of the world are an extremely contentious issue - a fairly common issue in many parts of the world. To address the issue in a positive way I designed the Belfast Flags project with the Thomas Devlin Fund. This year it is a pilot project with two schools and next year we hope to involve many more schools and other organizations.

Thomas Devlin was an innocent 16 year old who was stabbed to death by loyalists in 2005; the project is in memory of Thomas Devlin.

Belfast Flags
The project was inspired after I viewed Tibetan Prayer Flags in the Himalayas. The local spiritual belief is that the wind blows the hopes and prayers written and drawn on the flags across the land and acts as a force to harmonise the environment and spread good will. In the words of one local, 'The prayers are blessings blown on the breath of nature.' On viewing the prayer flags and reflecting on life in our small corner of the world, I thought to myself, 'This is what flag flying should be about.'

I worked with the pupils from two schools to design up the Belfast (Prayer) Flags; the pupils designed up their own unique flags that portrayed their positive hopes and wishes for the future.

The Launch
On the 25th of June the flags were officially launched in a ceremony endorsed by Jnr Government Minister Gerry Kelly and Belfast Lord Mayor Niaomi Long. A number of the flags were framed up and presented to the political leaders. Next year we hope that many schools and organizations will take up the project and that we can help to create a new tradition and attitude towards flag flying. We hope to allow people to reconceptualise what flag flying could be about. A report of the launch is on www.belfastflags.blogspot.com

What next
I hope that I can encourage international groups and people to fly a section of these flags at 'significant sites'. People can put up an image and report of where they have flown the flags on the blogsite. I will be flying the flags from my own chosen 'significant site' just outside Belfast in an effort to launch the significant sites project. www.belfastflags.blogspot.com

Location: Belfast for now

Title: Hands on Wall

Location:  Glenbawn, Poleglas, Belfast

Material:  Bronze, paint and a wall.

The Hands On wall is a project that was designed to build 'social capital' in a housing estate in west Belfast that was encountering social problems.  Bronze hand imprints were taken of approx. 60 local young people and attached to the wall.  A mural inspired by aboriginal identity was painted onto the wall.  Green is for the Irish identity, red is for the land and the yellow circle in the middle is the sun - the ancient God and source of life.  The two rivers stretching out from the hands are the hands prints of scores of other children and adults in the estate.  Across the top are the phrases 'Ar Lamh Ar Leas - Our Hands Our Future'

Title: Helix of Hope

Material:  Mud, paint, rice straw, and bamboo

Location:  Calcutta, India

The Helix of Hope was produced to reflect the Hindu practice of making idols of their Gods and then worshiping them for ten days before ritual immersion in the Ganges River.  My theme was that the future of children is our God.  I located myself with artisans who make these Gods - people who work in very basic conditions and with traditional materials.  The work was then publicly transported to The Loretto Day School, Calcutta where it went on public display for 10 days (as happens with the Hindu idols).  During this time I ran art workshops with street children who live on the roof of the school and other children who attend the school.  Their hand prints were cast in clay and attached onto the base of the sculpture; they then made a number of paintings that were used to decorate the Helix.  The theme was their hopes for the future.  After a public launch officiated by the Head of the British Council for East India, the Helix was again taken through the streets and ritually immersed in the local Ganges River.

Title:  The Kicks

Material:  Bronze and stone

Location:  Entrance to Poleglas, West Belfast

The Kicks was made with another small group from Glenbawn, Poleglas.  After workshops where the children made clay sculptures of various football kicks, I then married many of their ideas into this bronze sculpture.  The work is a 'welcome' piece to the estate.

Title: The Druid and the Seat of Knowledge

Title: Dreamcatcher

The Dreamcatcher stands at the junction of Altananum Housing Estate and the main road into Ballycastle.  It was made in conjunction with the Altananum youth group.  It is based on the native American idea of a dreamcatcher that catches bad dreams and allows good dreams through.  The feathers on the piece are decorated with images of the young people who were involved in the project.

Title: The Gatepost, Ferry Terminal, Portaferry

Title:  The Dilworth Cross

Location:  The Royal School Dungannon

Title: Dulra, Dumlamph Wood, Derry

Title:  The Kicks, Poleglas, Belfast

Title: The Poetree, Upperspringfield Development Trust

Title:  Swatragh Reimaging Communities

 

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2008 Raymond Watson.  Images on this website (including both the photography and subject of an image) are the property of Raymond Watson.  Images are provided only to enhance your visit to this website and unauthorised reproduction, saving, copying, redistribution or otherwise is expressly prohibited.

Raymond Watson, Conway,  Mill Conway, Street Belfast BT13 2DE