Tobermore, an award winning Northern Ireland based paving manufacturer supplying products throughout the UK and Ireland, have donated 2,000 tonnes of sand to aid the creation of ??Wish,?? the astonishing land-art portrait which has been a huge attraction for visitors at the 2013 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s University, Belfast. The festival took place from 17th – 27th of October, offering 11 days of entertainment from 24 different countries with theatre, dance, visual arts, film and music in all corners of the city.
Spanning 11 acres of land in Belfast??s stunning Titanic Quarter, ??Wish,?? is the current largest land-art portrait in the UK and Ireland. It features the face of an anonymous Belfast child and was created by internationally acclaimed Cuban-American artist, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, in partnership with the City and its people. The message that the artist wanted to communicate from ??Wish?? is to encourage the people of Northern Ireland to question who they want to be, rather than who they currently are. The portrait showcases a new face for Belfast on the old face of the city, representing a genuine hope of a brighter future for Northern Ireland. Following Jorge??s initial in-depth design period, the portrait was constructed over ten days from 4th-14th September of this year.
Using only natural materials and cutting edge satellite technology, the portrait is particularly close to the artist??s heart. Jorge comments, ?I have created work in the States and all over Europe but this piece in Belfast has been a different experience for me. The people have been overwhelming in their support and belief in the concept. When I first started on this work it was only 5 acres but it grew both emotionally and physically. Now it is my largest piece and I believe this magnitude is a fitting tribute to a city which has so much positivity to offer.??
As well as Tobermore, local firms such as McLaughlin & Harvey, PT McWilliams and Lagan Construction Group provided materials, tools, machinery, staff and soil towards the production of ??Wish,?? all free of charge. The Dock Café then provided the project headquarters and the viewing platforms were donated by W5, Belfast Metropolitan College and Titanic Belfast.
A core team also worked alongside a host of community volunteers from groups such as NOW who spared hundreds of hours of their time to make the entire 2013 Ulster Bank Festival a success. Other support was provided by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Titanic Foundation Limited and a major contribution from TOPCON.
Ellvena Graham, Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland reflects on the community spirit highlighted from the 2013 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival, ?It??s encouraging to see so many people, businesses and organisations who have volunteered their time and resources to be part of this collaborative and ambitious land art project.??
For more information please visit www.tobermore.co.uk.