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Mixed views on Sligo’s latest roadside sculpture

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The new sculpture located at the junction of the Rosses Point and Donegal road in Sligo.

The new sculpture located at the junction of the Rosses Point and Donegal road in Sligo.

The new sculpture located at the junction of the Rosses Point and Donegal road in Sligo.

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A sculpture commissioned by Sligo County Council under the Per Cent for Art Scheme as part of the recently completed N4-N15 Sligo Urban Improvement Scheme and the Social Housing apartment development at Rosses Point Road, with support from Sligo Tidy Towns has drawn mixed views from the public.

Social media has seen much debate about the installation of ‘Suppose an Outcrop’, a large scale, five metre tall, stainless steel sculpture by the internationally renowned Irish artist, Eilis O’Connell.

Many people have likened it to an aircraft engine while many others have questioned the cost though this hasn’t been revealed by the Council though it is believed to be in the region of €50,000 - €80,000.

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According to the council, the word “suppose” hints at the use of one’s imagination. An “outcrop” is associated with mountains, rocks and natural formations, making reference to Sligo’s geological formations, such as, Benbulben’s shale formation and sloping sides.

The artist asks that people imaginatively connect the sculpture with landscape and the forces of nature.

Suppose an Outcrop is made of perforated sheet steel and hand woven steel cable placed in a welded linear structure. O’Connell said: “So often we see objects that are too perfect, we experience digital manufacture fatigue, therefore it is important that the evidence of hand work in this sculpture is expressed in a visceral intuitive way.”

A series of creative engagement workshops are being developed for local schools in the local community to bring the work to life and explore the creative process behind making the sculpture. Schools taking part include St. Brendan’s NS and St Edward’s NS.

The hand-crafted curved sculpture is now a permanent feature located in the small urban park, developed as part of the N4-N15 Sligo Urban Improvement Scheme, at the Rosses Point Road Junction, Co. Sligo.

Landscaping of the site will be completed over the coming weeks by the Council’s Parks Department, after which a celebratory launch event will be scheduled.

“Many of my seemingly abstract sculptures are based on structures that occur in nature and my local landscape, I see mathematical patterns in geology and field markings and derive aesthetic pleasure from the mathematical order inherent in the natural world. For this commission I have made the top section of this sculpture myself from sections of steel that were made years ago when I came across an old wheel-making machine while working in London.

“I have held onto these shapes and return to them again and again, almost like using my own vocabulary of line, so the continuity of collecting materials is a very important aspect of my work,” said the artist.


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