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Drop at the Top, Spill on the Hill or Napoleon's Tear: Your suggestions for Belfast's new artwork

By Jonny Bell

Published 16/09/2016

Belfast’s newest and highest positioned sculpture was illuminated for the first time this evening, Friday, 16 September. Picture by Brian Morrison
Belfast’s newest and highest positioned sculpture was illuminated for the first time this evening, Friday, 16 September. Picture by Brian Morrison
Anann Nic Chormaic, aged 3, illuminates Belfast’s newest and highest positioned sculpture for the first time this evening, Friday, 16 September. Picture by Brian Morrison
The new Origin sculpture at Squire’s Hill in the Cave Hill Country Park, overlooking Belfast

We have the Balls on the Falls, Nuala with the Hula and now the Drop at the Top or even Napoleon's Tear?

Those are just some of the suggestions for Belfast's newest piece of public art.

Origin - as it is officially titled - is the highest-positioned sculpture in Belfast, overlooking the city from Squire's Hill in Cave Hill Country Park.

At night, it will be illuminated by a soft white glow, the raindrop will appear to float and it will be visible from a number of points across the city.

The 11-metre high structure was funded by Creative Belfast, a partnership between Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which invested £900,000 in seven large-scale projects showcasing the city's cultural heritage.

Origin cost £100,000 to install.

Some have been critical while others have been more welcoming to the newest addition to the city skyline.

But the important matter now is what we all call the structure. Yes it has an official name - but so do Nuala and the Balls, not that many could tell you them.

Beacon of Hope and Sunrise, just to remind you.

On Friday morning we asked the public for their suggestions and many have been offered, some printable, some not.

Among those suggested were Drop at the top, Spill on the Hill, Napoleon's Tear or Belfast's Teardrop. While some others were not so complimentary. Among those suggested - that we can print - were the Farce at the Farset or Drippy McDripface.

More: Poll: £100k for Belfast's giant tulip in middle of nowhere - is it worth it?

Many have been critical of the amount of money spent on the project.

Writing on the Belfast Telegraph Facebook page, Mark Montgomery said: "I'm looking forward to heading up and seeing it close up.

"A beacon for all those cruise ship tourists to see and a symbol of a slowly changing society. Is it money well spent? A drop in the ocean to the £850million we hand out in housing benefit and job seekers allowance so I think YES."

Roisin McDonough, the chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, described Origin as "suitably powerful and inspiring".

"Public money makes things possible that wouldn't otherwise be possible," she said.

"In the hands of artists, a remarkable and defining legacy has been created for Belfast city through this piece of public art.

"Origin gives us a suitably powerful and inspiring statement about the scale and the influence that this river has had on generations of people's lives and livelihoods in Belfast, and I hope that many, many people come to enjoy it."

Tracey McVerry, from Solas Creative, explained how the River Farset inspired the piece. "The importance of the River Farset and the lifeforce which it gives to the people of Belfast is portrayed in the form of a granite ripple at the sculpture's base," she said.

"Everything radiates out from the centre, just as a drop hits the water surface. The ripples represent the linen industry, foundries and the hard-working communities that built and shaped Belfast."

Some £100,000 of National Lottery funding was invested in the design, creation, manufacture and installation of Origin.

Its manufacture used four square meters of toughened Narima glass, 200 meters of stainless steel, 250 kilos of other glass, three tons of steel and two tons of granite.

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