Titanic artwork unveiled in Belfast
A giant toy modelling kit of the Titanic was unveiled yesterday on the site where the doomed liner was built almost a century ago.
One hundred years after Belfast's ship builders put together the original vessel, scale replicas of its component parts have now returned to docks in the form of an innovative public artwork.
Fittingly, present-day engineers from Harland and Wolff - the firm that built the famous passenger ship - helped in the construction of the towering bronze sculpture, which is inspired by the plastic frames synonymous with Airfix model kits.
Standing at 13.5 metres tall, the £200,000 piece was designed by English artist Tony Stallard and has been erected on the former shipyards at Belfast Lough.
The district, known as the Titanic Quarter, is currently undergoing a major regeneration, with plush flats, office blocks, entertainment venues and educational facilities breathing new life into the long derelict docklands.
Central to this are a number of signature developments, including a £100 million visitors centre, to commemorate the city's links with the Titanic ahead of the centenary of its launch in 1911 and subsequent sinking a year later.
The new sculpture, simply called 'Kit', will be lit with blue and white phosphorous lighting at night.
The Essex-born artist said he hoped the artwork symbolised Belfast as an industrial pioneer at the time of building the Titanic.
"It references the industrial heritage of the area and can be seen as a reverie of the past, to create nostalgia of what was once heroic," said Mr Stallard.
"It is designed to act as a contemporary tribute to the shipbuilders. The sculpture is 'see through' and transient, almost mythological."
Mike Smith, chief executive of Titanic Quarter hailed the artwork.
"The Tony Stallard sculpture is magnificent," he said.
"At Titanic Quarter we are building the future from the past and Kit, with its references to the Titanic's creation and the industrial heritage of the area, is a perfect illustration of that."
The project was jointed funded by the Titanic Quarter and Arts & Business NI.
Mr Stallard's design was selected in an open competition run by charitable arts organisation ArtSpark NI.