It’s taken a long time for the Spirit of Belfast to finally arrive in Arthur Square (better known as Cornmarket). Back in October 2007, nearly two years ago, I blogged about the Department of Social Development’s Streets Ahead public vote to select the piece of public art that would occupy the site of the old Cornmarket bandstand.
At the end of November 2007 came the announcement that Dan George’s Spirit of Belfast and its steel squiggles had beaten off competition from the wobbly pillars, a big spoon to win the £200,000 commission.
Then all went quiet. Well, the sculpture went quiet, while Arthur Square became a perpetual building site with the erection of Victoria Square and then shortly after the opening, the ripping up of the newly laid paving stones to search for buried gold (or something less interesting).
Fast forward to the beginning of May 2009, a plinth was built, wiring was installed, and then ... nothing.
But at lunchtime today, the paved top was off the plinth and the four curved steel beams were being lifted and screwed into position. You can read Dan George’s ideas in fully on his website, but the gist of it can be summed up as:
Spirit of Belfast - four curved stainless steel squiggles, complete with “a ribbon of light provided by very energy-efficient light emitting diodes” whose “intensity, color [sic] and movement will be programmed as called for by events, the time of day ... or special celebrations within the city”. It intends to become “the hearth of our city centre”, drawing people to its interactivity as it weaves together steel and reminds of us of the fabric (linen) of our history.
With the evenings darkening and late night shopping soon to become the norm in Belfast city centre, it’ll be interesting to see how impressive the mood lighting will be. And in case you can’t wait, the artist’s impression of the finished work is included down below.