New sculpture looks to ‘past, present and future’ of areaRemember, respect and resolution.
They are only three words, but cut into a new sculpture which has been planted in the heartland of Ulster loyalism, they represent so much more according to local representatives.
The 4.7m tall stainless steel triptych created by artist Lesley Cherry is part of a ‘re-imaging’ project aimed at toning down the war-like image of some communities in Northern Ireland.
It is hoped this latest sculpture, replacing a contentious mural of Oliver Cromwell on the Shankill estate, will inspire locals, restore community pride and help create hope for a more normal, stable future.
First Minister Peter Robinson, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and Housing Minister Nelson McCausland were among those attending yesterday’s unveiling.
Mr Robinson said the new artwork “reflected the minds of the people” in an area which had suffered so much during the Troubles.
The £3.3m re-imaging communities programme was launched in 2006 by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds who launched the landmark sculpture in the Shankill estate said he was delighted to have been asked to launch the new artwork.
He said: “It was a privilege to be asked to perform the honours at something so significant for this local area on the Shankill. “The Shankill has come through a lot of turmoil over the years, but the community is determined to move forward and that is what they are doing. This physically impressive artwork looks to the past, to the present and to the future, promoting a positive outlook, learning from the experiences of the past.
“This artwork has come about through a process of community engagement and local people deserve credit for that level of community input. During my time as Finance Minister I was pleased to allocate additional funding towards re-imaging communities to support positive initiatives such as this.”
Ian McLaughlin, from the Lower Shankill Community Association said: “This is the first large-scale sculpture to be sited within the Shankill Estate, and follows on from the removal of 10 paramilitary murals in 2009.
“The residents and the local community, attended several site visits to view artworks in and around the city, as well as taking part in several workshops, which lead to the creation of this sculpture.
“The words reflect the community’s feelings regarding the past, their respect for others views and ultimately a positive vision for the future. Remember, Respect, Resolution, captures the community’s feelings wholeheartedly,” added Ian McLaughlin.