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Titanic’s Home Faces Future with Hope

Friday, December 6, 2013

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An 11-acre portrait of a young girl, created from sand and soil, has briefly transformed the birthplace of the doomed RMS Titanic into a message of hope for the future.

WISH, a contemporary land-art installation in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was created by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. The stunning installation reproduced a potrait of an unidentified local six-year-old girl "making a pure and simple wish for the future," says Rodríguez-Gerada.

WISH in Belfast
Belfast Festival

WISH covers 11 acres in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. Based on a photo of an unidentified local girl, the portrait has "a gaze towards the future" and is the largest land-art portrait in the UK and Ireland.

Rodríguez-Gerada, with a lot of help from local construction companies and a team of volunteers, created the work with cutting-edge satellite technology and natural materials, including 30,000 wooden pegs, 2,000 tonnes of soil, 2,000 tonnes of sand, and a lot of grass, stones and string.

'Gaze Towards the Future'

The installation was unveiled Oct. 17 at the 2013 Belfast Festival at Queens in the city's Titanic Quarter, a large urban-waterfront regeneration project that includes the Titanic Belfast, a visitor attraction and monument to Belfast's maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was built.

Although the festival ended Oct. 27, the installation was to remain in place through the end of the year.

Rodríguez-Gerada told the Belfast Telgraph that it took 18 months to create the project, with only one month to produce it.

"I have created work in the States and all over Europe, but this piece in Belfast has been a different experience for me," he said. "The people have been overwhelming in their support and belief in the concept."

Titanic Quarter
Titanic Quarter

It took four weeks, 30,000 wooden pegs, 2,000 tonnes of soil, and 2,000 tonnes of sand, among other items, to complete the art installation.

He added: "When I first started on this work, it was only five acres, but it grew both emotionally and physically. Now, at 11 acres, it is my largest piece, and I believe this magnitude is a fitting tribute to a city which has so much positivity to offer."

The vast portrait "with a gaze towards the future" is the "biggest spectacle of land art to be seen in Belfast to date," and the largest land-art portrait in the UK and Ireland, according to the festival's website. The art questions "who we want to be, rather than who we currently are."

The portrait could be seen during the festival from upper levels of adjacent buildings on specially escorted tours and by walking through the art itself.


Tagged categories: Artists; Design; Murals; Shipyards

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