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Significant artwork funded by Building Peace through the Arts Programme unveiled in Belfast

Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 8am 0 Comments Building Peace through the Arts: Re-Imaging Communities

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, join artist Alex Pentek to put the finishing touches to wildflower planting around the new Forget Me Not sculpture Image: Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, join artist Alex Pentek to put the finishing touches to wildflower planting around the new Forget Me Not sculpture

Residents from across Belfast came together yesterday (August 4th) to celebrate the unveiling of a new public artwork in the City Cemetery entitled Forget Me Not.

The project was supported by the Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities Programme which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III), managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, and the International Fund for Ireland. The programme supports arts projects that promote a shared future and build positive relations within and between communities.

The sculpture, made of bronze coated steel, is the work of artist Alex Pentek and is the realisation of extensive community engagement with over 500 participants, through artist-led workshops.

Belfast City Council coordinated the project on the ground with assistance from The Friends of Falls Park. They worked across the community alongside artists, to create a new shared symbol of peace building and partnership for the historic cemetery under the theme ‘Life and Time’.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, said: “City Cemetery is a shared space for people from all faiths and none, so Belfast City Council is delighted to have supported this project which aims to promote diversity and tackle sectarianism. It is encouraging then that this project was brought to life after much cross-community consultation.

“It is a reminder of the future and the past we share in common. We can achieve and add much to our city through hard work, invention, care and respect for others. The Forget Me Not sculpture is an important symbol in this cemetery because it asks us to consider the contribution and diversity of all those buried here and, in that process, unites those who remember and pay their respects.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Building Peace Through the Arts programme has, at its core, the ability to bring communities together, through creative led engagement. 

“We have witnessed towns across Northern Ireland and the border counties experience the transformative power of the arts, Belfast is no exception and we are delighted to be part of the unveiling of this new artwork in this historic and peaceful place which symbolises the journey of people from the past and present throughout the city.”
The design and location of the artwork invites visitors to contemplate all those, unborn, young or old who have been laid to rest in the marked and unmarked plots.

The area surrounding the sculpture will also be planted with wild flowers, mirroring the flowers and buds on the sculpture, which symbolise the diversity and fragility of life.

 

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