Monday, 7 June 2010

2010:365:158 Something fishy

This blog has been started a few times.... one of those phone call evenings!  The Doll on the Ball is near the Waterfront Hall in Belfast and I had to attend an Abbeyfield function there this morning.  Having arrived a little early I had a chance to wander around Lanyon Place and enjoy some of the art.... 
This steel structure stands nineteen and a half metres high beside the Queen's Bridge.  The girl is on top of a huge globe - the side facing in this photograph is Australasia.  She is "Harmony of Belfast".  Hope, aspiration, peace, reconciliation are all themes associated with the figure who stands on the globe to symbolise unity and yet diversity of culture.  It is designed to bring people together and to encourage a sense of gratitude.  The location of the statue is "Thanksgiving Square".
She has other nicknames: The Loop with the Hoop; Nuala with the Hula....
The rest of this week will be fairly busy and, since I'm not going to be able to take Thursday off, I had a while out this afternoon after the function ended.
There's an "art trail" along the River Lagan so I followed it for part of the way enjoying many, many beautiful sculptures and interesting wall paintings.  
There are four huge murals with "Dream" written in dozens of different languages... each child unique.  But, I've no idea what this smaller sculpture is... the fountains beside it sometimes shoot high in between the bubbling stage.  Fun! 
PS - if you can do a PS in the middle.... ??  Gary pointed me in the direction of Gerry Ward who gives information about this Ned Jackson Smyth's aluminium sculpture.  Commissioned in 2005 it is called "Renewal" and celebrates Smirnoff Vodka's Russian heritage as well as Belfast's regeneration themes of renewal and hope. 
Right outside the Waterfront Hall is the life sized bronze shepherd with his sheep by Deborah Brown (1991).
That's only a stone's throw from the river and at the top of the steps leading to a walkway along the banks you find this useful warning!
I'm not sure it is entirely necessary but... you never know... someone might mistake the river for ....??
The next major piece of art is "Bigfish".  Apparently its nickname is "The Big Fish" although it is sometimes referred to as the Salmon of Knowledge.  Usually Belfast folk can invent something a little more original!
This fish is by the same artist whose work blog readers have encountered before - John Kindness.  (He did the Waterfall of Memories)  This fish (1999) is a similar technique with ceramic tiles - this time all printed in shades of blue.  They have some photographs reproduced, newspaper front pages, receipts, drawings, advertisements ... a whole range of subjects.  

It is an impressive statue ten metres long.  Inside there's a time capsule with poetry and information about Belfast in the last century.   You could spend a long time just wandering around it.

It was quite some time before this picture without people could be taken.... Custom House Square is a busy place at lunch time and everyone was out to enjoy the spell of sunshine and warmer weather that we have had recently.
The Belfast logo in the background is well placed, in my opinion.  Bigfish is inspiring.  The logo is the "B" and is added to all kinds of messages... B welcome, B active, B involved....
While enjoying a coffee here I happened to see that Titanic Cruises were running....
Before you imagine a cruise liner let me show you the thirty seater little boat.... It seemed like a good idea and now that I have a bus pass I get concession fares too!!  Off we went... just five passengers and three crew for an hour on the river.  Not much of it shows up particularly well in photographs but it was interesting to hear about the Titanic and its sister vessels.  

At one time the shipyards in Belfast were the biggest in the world and they built the biggest liners in the world.  How different are things today!
The Titanic Quarter is undergoing huge development and will be a vibrant place to be in the years to come.  
Another unusual sculpture stands outside one of the new apartment blocks.  It's called The Fix and is based on the Airfix model kits that were popular, maybe even still are popular, with children.
Apparently the "rusty" appearance is deliberate.  You can just imagine some giant's offspring enjoying the puzzle of pushing out all the little pieces, putting them together and then painting the finished ship.
It was a most relaxing afternoon.  Cloudy sunshine but mild... it was a perfect time to be on the river after a pleasant walk along its banks.  There wasn't time to take in all the sculptures and I know that I'm going to have to return take a closer look.
Belfast has such a lot of great work and much of it by contemporary Irish artists who have been inspired by the Troubles and the hope of a better future that is possible when people are willing to reach out to one another.

One Lord, in one great name
unite us all who own you;
cast out our pride and shame
that hinder to enthrone you:
the world has waited long,
has laboured long in pain;
to heal its ancient wrong,
come, Prince of Peace, and reign. 

Church Hymnal number 501
"Christ is the world's true light..." by G W Briggs 


Gary said...

The mystery one - I think I was told one time that it was commissioned by Smirnoff Vodka, for some purpose, as it's in their colours. Can't find the source now, but it's somewhere among my links on Flickr.

Gary said...

Found it - Gerry Ward has a whole blurb about it at his photo:

Rev Elizabeth said...

Thanks Gary!