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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Howya head ... statue to dwarf city skyline

IT's not even built, but already a planned sculpture two-thirds the height of Liberty Hall has been dubbed 'the wire in the mire'.

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority plans to build a 48m metal figure on the banks of the Liffey which will loom over the city, rising from the water 'like a drawing in space'.

Evoking images of Dean Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Dubliners will feel like Lilliputians as they stroll underneath the massive sculpture planned beside the Sean O'Casey bridge.

Subject to planning permission, it is hoped to have the statue built by the end of next year at a cost of €1.6m.

The DDDA says it will be "a signpost for the realignment of Dublin's epicentre eastwards".

Designed by sculptor Antony Gormley -- the man behind the famous Angel of the North in Gateshead -- the piece is based on his own body.

It will be constructed from an open latticework of steel coated with bitumen, incorporating previously unused techniques.

The Turner Prize-winner was commissioned by the DDDA following a year-long international selection process.

Antony Gormley described it as being "like a charcoal drawing against the sky, changing as your position changes in relation to it".

Its open weave design will allow light to permeate through and will allow visibility in all directions.

DDDA chief executive Paul Maloney said that the announcement comes at an important time in the Docklands project.

"The delivery of the Docklands Arts Strategy is now well on its way with the appointment of Antony Gormley for this sculptural commission, closely following the commencement on site of the new Grand Canal Theatre and the commitment of a site for our national theatre, the Abbey at George's Dock," he said.

A name for the work has not yet been decided upon, as Gormley believes "it has to be in the world before you name it."

But not everyone is happy with the proposal. The East Wall Residents' Association said it planned to object to the project because there had been no public consultation.

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