30/10/2009

Titanic Sculpture Unveiled in Belfast

A new piece of street art that pays tribute to the doomed Titanic - which was built almost a century ago - has been unveiled in Belfast, writes Carla Liébana.

Designed as a huge 'toy modelling kit' of the mythical liner, it was revealed yesterday at Abercorn Residential Complex in Titanic Quarter.

As part of a public artwork, scale replicas of the component pieces from the original vessel were used as a new version of the ill-fated liner returned to docks where it was constructed.

The current engineers from Harland and Wolff - the company that built the famous ship in 1911 - collaborated with the construction of this 13.5m tall bronze sculpture called 'Kit'.

Inspired by the plastic frames synonymous with Airfix model kits and designed by English artist Tony Stallard it cost £200,000 - funded by the Titanic Quarter and Arts & Business NI.

Mr Stallard said the artwork symbolises Belfast as an industrial pioneer at the time of building the Titanic, (pictured).

He stated: "It references the industrial heritage of the area and can be seen as a reverie of the past, to create nostalgia of what was once heroic."
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The artist was the winner of an open competition run by charitable arts organisation ArtSpark NI that took place in order to select the design.

"It is designed to act as a contemporary tribute to the shipbuilders. The sculpture is 'see through' and transient, almost mythological," explained Mr Stallard.

At night, the artwork will be lit with blue and white phosphorous lighting, suggesting the marine environment and the searchlights of ships.

Mike Smith, Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter, described the sculpture as "magnificent" and added it was a perfect illustration of the way the quarter is building its future from the past.

In fact, he said that the Titanic Quarter represents an important regeneration with luxurious flats, office blocks, entertainment venues and also educational buildings.

In adition, near the centenary of Titanic's launch in 1911 and subsequent sinking a year later, there will also be a number of 'signature' developments, such as a £100 million visitors' centre.

All these facilities would turn the derelict docklands into a neighbourhood full of plenty of life.

Meanwhile Belfast City Council are also carrying out a project to transform Belfast into a nicer place through addition examples of art in the streets, while 'Kit' shows how private initiatives are working with similar purposes.

(CL/BMcC)

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