Entertainment Theatre & Arts

Thursday 20 June 2019

Yeats Society Sligo launches 'White Birds Fly' installation ahead of Yeats Day

The commissioned piece – White Birds Fly – will be officially launched on June 13 for Yeats Day
The commissioned piece – White Birds Fly – will be officially launched on June 13 for Yeats Day

THE award-winning Irish artist Conor McNally has installed a new sculptural series, White Birds Fly, above the Yeats Building at Hyde Bridge in Sligo town.

The sculpture was commissioned by Yeats Society Sligo to celebrate 60 years of the Yeats International Summer School.

For the piece, Wicklow-based McNally drew inspiration from the seagulls in Yeats’ poem “White Birds” and captured the moment when the flock glides against the breeze.

Conor McNally said: “It's been a great experience and opportunity to be involved with the Yeats Society and I was delighted to be awarded the opportunity. It was a challenge to literally make the White Birds fly for the Yeats Building and to bring some of the magic of Yeats to my work.”

White Birds Fly will be officially launched on Yeats Day, June 13 – WB Yeats 154th birthday – in advance of the International Summer School which opens on July 25 and will remain on display until September 27.

In the sculpture, the birds appear to fly eastwards into the open skies across Hyde Bridge from the Yeats Building in the centre of Sligo. The installation will be a highlight of the Summer School – the longest running academic summer school in the world – and will remain at the building until the end of September 2019.

To create the three-dimensional structure, that has the size and stature of a bird but weighs next to nothing, McNally combined digital technology with natural materials constructed from sustainably sourced Irish wood rods connected with precision designed 3D-printed nodes. The light airiness of the flock of birds gives the impression that the birds are in constant motion even as they are tethered by wires to the building.

Chair of the Hyde Bridge Gallery at Yeats Society and board member, artist Nuala Clarke said: “We wanted to mark this special occasion with a unique commission. The standard of applications was high, and we were delighted to work with Conor McNally and to have his innovative installation on display for Yeats Summer School students and visitors as well as locals in Sligo.”

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