Two sculpture commissions announced for City Hall and Smithfield

by Dublin Gazette
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Sculpture Dublin has announced the awarding of two of the six new sculpture commissions that it is spearheading for communities around Dublin between now and the end of 2021.

Following a competitive open competition process, Alan Butler has been selected for the commission at Smithfield Square Lower and Alan Phelan has been selected for the temporary commission at the O’Connell Plinth at City Hall, Dame Street.

At the start of November, it was announced that Breda Marron was selected for the commission at Ballyfermot People Park. The artists for the remaining commissions at Bushy Park, Terenure, Kildonan Park, Finglas and St Anne’s Park, Raheny will be announced in 2021.

The Kildonan Park in Finglas is a two-stage process and last month Sara Cunningham-Bell, Emma Louise Moore and Martina Coyle and Motoko Fujita were shortlisted in the first stage of the process.

Five of the six commissions were open competitions and artists were asked to create a sculptural work in response to the specific context of the selected site. Two of the commissions are ‘participative’ and will require local involvement in the creation of the work.

Speaking about his selection, Dublin-based artist Alan Butler said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be included in the Sculpture Dublin programme.

“The work that I am producing for Smithfield Square Lower aims to create a fun new landmark for Dublin. The process is exciting too, as it will involve fabricating an iconic digital object in the mode of traditional bronze sculpture.

“Its form was chosen as a symbol of human connection, while also lying historically at the intersection of mathematics, architecture, animation, film-making and visual art production.”

Alan Phelan’s submission for the temporary sculpture on The O’Connell Plinth was agreed by the judging panel as the most appropriate for the site. City Hall was originally built as the Royal Exchange, Dublin’s main centre of trading and commerce in the eighteenth century.

Speaking on his selection, Alan Phelan said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have won this very special inaugural commission for the O’Connell Plinth at City Hall. Sculpture Dublin is an important initiative in bringing contemporary sculpture into public awareness in some really exciting new ways.

“I look forward to working with the Sculpture Dublin team in delivering the proposed artwork and being part of the great tradition of public art in Dublin city. Engaging with multiple histories is an important part of what I do as an artist, so I hope to be able to create a rich conversation between art, the city and its people with this sculpture.”

All of the commissions will be accompanied with local engagement programmes designed to raise awareness, provoke conversations about sculpture and involve people in discussing how sculpture and public art enhance their neighbourhood.

Students at George’s Presentation Primary School in Smithfield will be invited to take part in a creative project linked to the Smithfield Square Lower commission and students at the Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount will be invited to take part in a project about the O’Connell Plinth commission.

A new monthly online lecture series will also commence in January, hosted by Sculpture Dublin and delivered by sculpture expert, Professor Paula Murphy. The first one is on Friday 29 January about the history of Dublin’s public sculpture and interested members of the public can register at the events section of

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