by Rose Rushe
A SEA of white horses gathers pace in a city warehouse, the former Cahill May Roberts building at Bank Place. Inside this workspace, the horses are made of fibreglass mould, each sitting, expectant, already a massive, passive statement.
This is the Urban Horse herd, “a legacy and commission project with City of Culture that began last August,” explains Angela Connolly of Limerick Corridor Art Ltd. Many will know her through her years with ‘The Horse Outside’, 9-foot painted beauties at Hunt Museum that graze for this season in Parkway Shopping Centre.
Working with regeneration communities in creating vehicles for art, heritage and team-skills, Angela’s strategy will see ultimately 15 Urban Horses herding at People’s Park on Culture Night, Friday September 19 and be party to future projects – the legacy.
“We have made our 2014 horses legless and shorter in height, that’s a safety issue,” she smiles. “Safety was the first imperative and we want children to be able to hop on and off them, have the horses be interactive.”
Already she has picked a city wide team of 18 to paint them from a melting pot of myth, art and cultural referencing, under the banner ‘Individuality and Identity’. “They are aged from nine years up to 50. I wanted as diverse a group as possible, as many children from as many areas. I looked north, south, east and west”.
Her professional colleagues in the back-break labour of creating a score of Urban Horse models are Ronan Farrell and Jim Carroll, two SAUL graduates with Brian Casey, and Paddy Torrie, biochemist.
Their skillsets and backgrounds mesh literally and brilliantly in this slow, solvent-heavy process. First the making of a ‘plug’, the half tonne base horse from 155 handcut pieces of MDF, that is covered in layers of laser cut fiberglass and composite materials to make each identical mould.
“All the materials, the parts, the labour, the spend is in our local economy,” Angela states proudly. “The individual painting of the horses will begin shortly and we have put in 7am to 11pm days to have the moulds ready on time”.
There are contributory credits to made: Ray O’Halloran who manages the building; Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory), City of Culture, professional volunteers such as youth leaders who will foster the art/ research progress, and of course, doorstep resources such as Hunt Museum and City Library to inspire each horse’s coat of many colours.
More anon as these monuments to Limerick, art and youth gain life.