John Byrne new artwork “The Tug” to feature Fingal local volunteers

by Rose Barrett
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Fingal residents who were cast for a major artwork by John Byrne, joined the renowned artist and his production team at the Fingal Liam Rodgers Community Centre in Swords to pose for a photo shoot for an iconic new artwork, writes Rose Barrett. 

Commissioned by Fingal County Council under the Infrastructure 2018–2021 Public Art Programme, this public artwork will comprise of a large-scale photograph to represent a cross section of people living and working in Fingal for a permanent artwork which will be installed in the new Swords Cultural Quarter.

Following a two-year delay due to Covid 19, the 45 volunteers from diverse communities and of varying ages across the county were styled and posed on specially constructed sets for the photographic composition. Working closely with the volunteers, Byrne choreographed them into groups representing urban and rural life in Fingal, some of whom were engaged in a tug of war!

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr, Howard Mahony commented: “Fingal County Council has a special commitment towards cultural investment and arts development within our county and the commissioning of artworks which involve and celebrate our unique identity as Fingallians. I congratulate John Byrne and his team, and I look forward to seeing the completed artwork in the Swords Cultural Quarter.”

John Byrne is the recipient of Fingal County Council’s Public Art Commission Award for Infrastructure.

The artist himself stated: “The working title for the piece is ‘The Contest’, addressing the tug between urban and rural Fingal and beyond. It is about the contested ways we choose to live. It will strongly reference two well-known historical paintings which were made during politically tumultuous times. Local Fingal volunteers will play out the roles of characters in seemingly opposing camps.” 

Rory O’ Byrne County Arts Officer for FCC said, “Public art done correctly in the hands of established artists such as John Byrne has the power to draw people together within a community, in a positive and constructive manner, to celebrate their distinctiveness and home place.” 

The photographic image will be printed on metal plates, immortalizing the volunteers in this new artwork, and will be permanently situated in a prominent location in the proposed Swords Cultural Quarter.

For further information on Fingal County Council’s Infrastructure programme and the artist John Byrne visit:

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