An eight foot steel sculpture representing the past, present and future has been unveiled in Lincoln Court Estate in Londonderry. The £44,450 project funded through the Arts Council led Re-imaging Communities Programme, has provided a new shared space for local people following the removal of a paramilitary mural and painted curb stones.
Kevin Killen, at the launch of his eight foot steel sculpture representing the past,
present and future at Lincoln Court Estate in Londonderry
The regeneration project was led by Lincoln Courts Youth & Community Association, Ulster Political Research Group, and the Conflict Transformation Initiative. Local residents, including children and young people, worked with artist Kevin Killen to create the new sculpture. Technical and financial assistance was provided by the Greencare Northwest Project supported by Groundwork Northern Ireland, Derry City Council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
To complement the project a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and environmental improvement project has also been completed. Funding of £72,816 was provided by DSD through the Areas at Risk Pilot Programme, Derry City Council’s Parks Development Programme, Greencare North West Project and the PSNI. The NIHE transferred the lands to Council at nil cost.
Wendy McClay from Lincoln Courts Youth & Community Association commented: “Almost exactly one year ago Lincoln Courts was awarded a grant through the Arts Council from the Re-imaging communities Programme. We installed an art piece called ‘Community Spirit’. The whole experience of the last year has been one of Community Spirit as so many groups were involved. It has been a busy year but when we see the results it was well worth it.”
The ring shaped sculpture, which uses trees and leaves to represent the continuous circle of life, has been designed to promote positive messages of hope, renewal and transformation. Situated opposite the community centre, in the very heart of the estate, the sculpture is embellished with laser-cut metal leaves depicting various elements of local life.
Commenting on the project, Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Chair of the Shared Communities Consortium, said: “Working with artist Kevin Killen the residents of Lincoln Courts have breathed new life into the area by creating a welcoming communal space which everyone can enjoy.
“The Arts Council led Re-imaging Communities Programme has provided residents and community groups with the means to reclaim their neighbourhoods and restore civic pride, which are key steps on the road to sustainable regeneration. The new artwork is a result of the community’s hard work and dedication.”
Housing Executive District Manager, Avril McAllister, also welcomes this initiative and said: “I would like to congratulate the various residents’ groups who worked along with the other agencies to ensure that this project has been delivered to the satisfaction of all concerned. It will be of great benefit to the residents and will enhance the perception of this estate for future residents as well.”
Speaking at the project launch, Artist Kevin Killen said: “With hard work from the Lincoln Court community groups, we were able to create an artwork that captures something special about their local identity. In developing the themes from the workshops, I aimed to stretch and challenge the perceptions and expectations of the community to create a contemporary piece they can be truly proud off. In my experience, community collaboration enhances the artistic process and fosters a sense of community ownership, which is vital in community art.”
The Re-imaging Communities Programme is funded through the Shared Communities Consortium, led by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and includes the partners OFMDFM, DSD, DCAL, Community Relations Council, Northern Ireland Office, PSNI, SOLACE (Society of Local Authority and Chief Executives), International Fund for Ireland and NI Housing Executive.