7 November 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Cianna McNally

The latest piece of public art in Co Monaghan, which was officially unveiled on Friday last, is one of three pieces of similar art along the route of the Ulster Canal.

The impressive steel sculpture entitled ‘Moving On’ is located on the outskirts of Monaghan Town at the Coolshannagh Roundabout and is one of many commissioned throughout Northern Ireland and the Border counties under the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ‘Building Peace Through the Arts: Re-Imaging Communities’ initiative. The Blackwater Regional Partnership submitted an application to the Arts Council to erect three pieces of art along the route of the Ulster Canal. Along with the ‘Moving On’ sculpture there are another two pieces in place, one in Caledon in Co Tyrone and one in Middletown, Co Armagh.

Developed by artists Maree Hensey and Mark Ryan, the art piece has a strong link to the local community as members of Teach na nDaoine’s homework club, Monaghan Neighbourhood Youth Project and the National Adult Learning Network participated in art workshops earlier this year to develop the imagery on the structure. A time capsule detailing the work that went into the creation of the art piece has been placed in the base of it.

Speaking at the launch event Mark Ryan and Maree Hensey were warm in their praise of the local groups they worked with. Ms Hensey said that the sculpture gave voice to a town in transition.

“There is a movement to the piece in scale and also within the landscape. The sphere is held and supported along the arc, which maps the journey. It is held and suspended in time with the illusion that it might continue to move on. The sphere is a strong focal point it has no beginning or end, and no division, it is a symbol of inclusion, unity and a shared connection for the future,” she commented.

In his address, Chairperson of the Blackwater Regional Partnership Councillor David Maxwell described the Ulster Canal and the industrial heritage of the Blackwater region as being part of Monaghan’s cross border and cross community heritage.

“It is a heritage that gives us a reason to be proud of where we come from and the achievements of previous generations,” said Councillor Maxwell.

He thanked the Arts Council, the International Fund for Ireland and PEACE III programme for their investment in Monaghan. Expressing his delight that a wide range of people of all ages had engaged fully in the project Councillor Maxwell also thanked the artists Ms Hensey and Mr Ryan for developing such an “eye catching” creation and giving generously of their time to build relationships with the local community

“I understand that a time capsule explaining their work has been placed inside the base of the sculpture. It is fitting that the community has been so involved in linking the past role the canal played in moving people through this central region of Ulster, and in helping to chart how it might once again facilitate the movement of people through its new guise as a greenway.”

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