Daily Archives: July 15, 2012

The blight of Famine

Summer seems to have forgotten to arrive in Ireland this year. Listening to the weather forecast on the radio in Dublin recently, there was a blight warning for potato growers. Spores develop on the leaves, spreading through the crop when temperatures are above 10 °C (50 °F) and humidity is over 75%-80% for 2 days or more. Rain can wash spores into the soil where they infect young tubers. Spores can also travel long distances on the wind. 29th June seems to be considered the time to begin digging the new crop of potatoes.  Well, it was back in the day we grew and eat seasonally.

Any mention of blight reminds me that it was a major culprit in the Great Famine of 1845 in Ireland.

Famine ~  Bronze
Sculptor ~ Row
an Gillespie

On 29th May 1997, this really imposing Famine Monument sculpture was installed at Custom House Quay, on the North banks of The Liffey.

It consists of seven men and women and a dog.  All are obviously marked by starvation. One is carrying another man. The statues are evocative of the wiry artwork of  the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti.

They appear all the more striking placed in front of a whole new Dublin background. The people in this work just slowly move forward, more dead than alive, more ghost than human. At the same level as people passing by, the figures seem to it engender a mood of being far away in a different time and dimension.

Rowan Gillespie has featured in my sculpture series in the past.  He was born in Dublin to Irish parents, but spent his formative years in Cyprus.

His singular and often exhausting modus operandi involves taking the work through from conception to creation, entirely unassisted in his purpose-built bronze casting foundry at Clonlea, in Blackrock. This is one of the things that makes him unique among the bronze casting fraternity ~ Wikipedia

For more of his work check this link.

Alice once asked about the lack of people or traffic in the photos I took, so to prove that I don’t frighten everyone away, here is a photo of the sculpture with people about: