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The People's Acorn: Giant artwork planned for grounds of Áras to commemorate 1916

The bronze cast artwork will be placed in woodland surrounding the President’s residence.

KM_C258-20160617121939 Source: president.ie

A GIANT ACORN will soon be installed in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin to commemorate the centenary of 1916. 

Standing almost two metres high and three metres long, the bronze cast artwork will be placed in the woodland surrounding the President’s residence next to a new wildflower garden, and will be completed by the end of next year.

A spokesperson for the Áras said it probably wouldn’t be possible to view the piece from the wider Phoenix Park – as it would be out of the line of sight from surrounding pathways.

Artist Rachel Joynt’s proposal was selected as the winner of a competition to create a 1916 themed sculpture. A statement from President Higgins said brief was for a piece that would “inspire current and future generations to seek to realise the republican ideals proclaimed a century ago”.

acorn12 Source: President.ie

Established artists like Imogen Stuart and Robert Ballagh sat on the  jury that selected the eventual winner.

“Rachel’s proposal uses the symbolism of an acorn to represent the combination of individual stories and effort of men and women to imagine and forge a collective future for the Irish nation,” President Higgins’ statement said.

“The sculpture will be in bronze and will signify the promise of 1916 and of today for us to journey from seed to majestic oak. The sculpture will contain a ‘time capsule’, housing the writings of some of our youngest and oldest generations with their thoughts, ideas and wishes for Ireland.

I believe that Rachel Joynt’s project will be a fitting and lasting symbol of Ireland’s quest for self-determination and our ongoing effort to meet the aspirations of those who dreamed of a different Ireland.

Source: Áras an Uachtaráin/YouTube

Describing the artwork, Joynt said the hollow sculpture would have “a fibrous, organic textural surface and appear massive in proportion and somewhat mythically surreal, nestled comfortably in this mature woodland setting”.

“As you get closer to the sculpture the viewer will notice thousands of life-size pencils subtly integrated within the fibrous texture of the nut’s shell.

“Many pencils will have the first-name of their owner embossed in lettering on its surface. Having names of hundreds of people inscribed on 1000s of pencils suggests the ‘voice of the individual to shine, and yet become an invaluable part of a collective.’

The integrated pencils within the texture will become smoother nearer the ‘tip’ of the acorn and be replaced by the embossed text of people’s writing/poetry.

tip The tip of the People's Acorn. Source: Rachel Joynt

The names on the pencils “such as Magda, Patrick and Ahmad” will “reflect the rich cultural diversity that exists among our young citizens,” according to the artist.

I see this work as providing a welcoming, playful yet enduring and relevant symbol, an acknowledgment of the momentous events a century ago with a positive vision to cherish youthful energy and potential into the future.

Joynt graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Sculpture from NCAD in 1989 and has been commissioned to create artworks for a wide range of public projects, including the Weather Vane and Pool at Dublin Castle, and the landmark ‘Perpetual Motion’ at the Naas Bypass (below).

perp Source: Kildare.ie

Read: A massive chunk of the 1916 Jacob’s Tricolour has been handed back to Ireland >

Read: All children to have access to music lessons under ambitious new Irish culture plan >

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