Stranmillis has a striking new addition to its landscape — a four metre high stainless steel arch which aims to “capture the essence” of the area.
Local children and artists helped create the ‘Sweet Water Arch’ which is now in place near the Stranmillis Roundabout.
The sculpture’s name is derived from the Irish for the area — ‘An Srúthan Milís’ or ‘sweet stream’.
The artwork, which was funded from Belfast City Council’s Brighter Belfast initiative, frames the view across the Lagan to the Annadale Embankment, linking the communities on both sides of the river.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Naomi Long, said: “What I love about this sculpture is that it really captures the essence of Stranmillis — from theatrical connections with the Lyric, to Charles Lanyon’s impressive architecture of Stranmillis College, to the flow of the river itself and the trowel which represents the famous Annadale brickworks.”
Following a United Kingdom-wide call for proposals, Derbyshire-based sculptor Denis O’Connor was selected to bring his concept to life.
Preparation for the artwork included workshops with neighbouring primary schools Stranmillis Primary School, Forge Integrated Primary School and Holy Rosary Primary School. Art and design students from Stranmillis College, local residents and local historians Dr Eamon Phoenix and Dr Julian Greenwood also gave input.
And the primary school children had the opportunity to work with artist and printer Bernie Rutter of Sculptureworks, sculptor Angela Pressley and local ceramic artist Eleanor Wheeler to explore the industries and past uses of the river and translate these into ideas for the sculpture.
Eleanor said: “It was great to have the children’s input to the whole artistic process — their enthusiasm for Stranmillis really shines through and their collaboration with the artists has given us a really interesting piece of public art which both local people and visitors will enjoy.”