Peace - 'we need it more than ever before'

Story by Seamus Enright

Thursday, 7th December, 2017 4:11pm

Peace - 'we need it more than ever before'

The dismantled Arch of Peace as it was being removed from the Market Square in Cavan Town.

The artist behind Cavan Town's once central 'Arch of Peace' sculpture says that she is hopeful the local authority will consult with her on the work's future location, as yet to be decided.

German-born Irish sculptor Imogen Stuart voiced palpable relief that the removal of her 1989 work, installed as part of the last major refurbishment of the centre of town, went ahead smoothly. But she expressed the opinion that given the statuary's core significance and meaning, it should retain a prominent position once re-established.
“I think it needs to be put in a place where people are really aware of it,” Ms Stuart said of her iconic dolmen-type structure of three hands stacked and touching.
The nonagenarian sculptor told The Anglo-Celt this week from her Sandycove, Co Dublin home, that given rising political turbulence in the region and elsewhere around the world, her work's central message is more poignant now then ever before.
Considered Ireland's foremost female sculptor with a career spanning more than six decades, Ms Stuart's Market Square Travertine stone monument has divided opinion as to where it should be located since its removal earlier this year.
The €100,000 Market Square project, currently being undertaken by Cavan County Council, aims to create a new, modern focal point in the town in an effort to increase accessibility in the town centre.
The County Museum in Ballyjamesduff is one location mooted to possibly rehome Ms Stuart's sculpture, but it's understood that several are under consideration including a number of public parks.
Of the dichotomy in attitudes, Ms Stuart said what remains most important is the message behind her work. “I only thought it was very positive, but people will always have their opinions. They are entitled to that.
“Whatever the case, my feeling is it should be in a place where it can really still mean something for everybody. I mean, the title is the 'Arch of Peace', and we need it more than ever before with this old bloody Brexit situation and everything else,” Ms Stuart added.

'Peace for All' monument

Whatever the case, the renowned sculptor is hopeful that a quicker resolution can be found to that, which still mires the future reinstatement of the Belturbet ‘Peace for All’ monument, the subject of a failed theft last year.
It was hoped that the metal statue by Kildare artist Derek A Fitzsimons, located near the George Mitchell ‘Peace Bridge’ on the Border with counties Cavan and Fermanagh, would have been put back in place early this year. But with estimated costs of €10,000 associated with the work, that deadline has been pushed back until funding comes available.
The statue of a warrior embracing ‘Mother Ireland’ was discovered wrenched from its marble plinth in August last year, and the Council had stated the reinstatement of the landmark piece would be carried out in conjunction with new security measures aimed at warding off thieves in future.
A spokesperson for the Council, however, assured that a decision has been taken, a committment given at Cavan-Belturbet Municipal District level to reinstating the ‘Peace for All’ sculpture at Aghalane Bridge. "It is expected that preparatory work in this regard will commence in January 2018."

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