GPO Witness History sculpture commission announced

A new permanent sculpture is being installed in the eastern courtyard of An Post’s newly developed €10m visitor centre GPO Witness History.

Artist Barbara Knezevic has created the artwork entitled ‘They are of us all’, commissioned as a reflection on young lives lost through conflict and a commemoration of the children who died during Easter Week 1916 in Dublin.

‘They are of us all’ was selected through a limited competition when artists were invited to propose an artwork to remember the children killed during the week of the Easter Rising in 1916. The initiative was the culmination of extensive independent research initiated by broadcaster Joe Duffy.

Anna McHugh, Head of Corporate Communications at An Post and the GPO Witness History Project Team, congratulated Barbara Knezevic on the commission and thanked all the artists who had taken part in the process. “This permanent sculpture for the Children of the Rising is cocooned right in the heart of the GPO; their stories are woven throughout our unique exhibition and they will always be remembered here.  This area of the city was their playground and we are still on ‘their patch’, she added.

Barbara Knezevic lives in Dublin and is currently based at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. She explains that ‘They are of us all’ takes the form of 40 limestones placed on a mirrored steel surface, each stone a tribute to each child:

“The small scale of the stones is intimate and their reflections evoke the individual tragedy of the loss of a child as well as the universal nature of grief. As the artwork memorialises an aspect of the Easter Rising previously overlooked, the intention is to represent the gravity of these bereavements alongside the more public history and legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising,” she added.

GPO Witness History opens on March 29th, 2016.  See www.gpowitnesshistory.ie for more details and booking.   The new visitor centre is expected to attract more than 30,000 visitors per annum.

Curators Ruairí Ó Cuív and Valerie Connor were contracted to advise on and manage the GPO: Witness History children’s commission.

The artist would like to acknowledge the expertise and assistance of George Cooke at Natural Stone Supplies; Anton Patrescu, Stonemason; Jason Ellis, Artist; Brian and Paul Hanna at Hanna and Sons, Fabricators; and Tony Magennis at MagTrans.

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Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.

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