Belfast Telegraph

Video: It's a gargantuan creation of epic scale in Belfast, but who is the local girl pictured in this amazing work?

30,000 pegs, 2,000 tonnes of soil, 2,000 tonnes of sand, 11 acres and one huge team effort combine to create the largest land-art portrait in the UK and Ireland

It's the largest, most jaw-dropping piece of land-art in the UK and Ireland, right in the heart of Belfast - but who is the young local girl pictured in this epic work?

From close-up, 'Wish' may appear as no more than a barren landscape of sand and dirt.

But the stunning and awe-inspiring piece of art and construction - which today launches this year's Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's - comes alive when seen from afar.

Spanning 11 acres of land in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, Wish is the portrait of what those behind the breathtaking work have said is an "anonymous Belfast child".

It's been painstakingly created by internationally acclaimed Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, in partnership with the city and its people.

And how has this stunning work been created? Alongside some cutting edge satellite technology, the final piece was made using 30,000 pegs, 2,000 tonnes of soil, 2,000 tonnes of sand - making it the largest land-art portrait in the UK and Ireland.

Artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada has also produced similar pieces all over the world, however said he is especially connected to his latest and largest project in Belfast.

"I have created work in the States and all over Europe but this piece in Belfast has been a different experience for me," he said.

"The people have been overwhelming in their support and belief in the concept.  When I first started on this work it was only five acres but it grew both emotionally and physically.

"Now, at 11 acres, it is my largest piece and I believe this magnitude is a fitting tribute to a city which has so much positivity to offer."

The creation is launching the 2013 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s - in which over 70 different performances will take place across the city over the next 11 days.

Director, Richard Wakely, said he was thrilled to be opening with such a land-mark piece of work.

"To present a piece of this quality and magnitude is staggering and provides a unique way to open this year’s Festival," he said.

"It is a free event that has enabled us to work closely with local businesses and volunteers and it is their commitment that has made it happen."

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s runs from 17th - 27th October

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