Latest City Mural incorporates both Cork past and present

Bishop Lucey Park is the home of the fourth and final piece in the 2021 Ardú Street Art Project. 

Cork-born and world-renowned artist Conor Harrington is the man behind the mural which is situated at the Grand Parade entrance. 

Artist Conor Harrington with his mural – Photo by John Beasley.

The mural is one of four that have been painted in some of Cork city’s much-loved areas. 

The others include: Friz’s “Goddess Cliodhna” at St Finbarr’s Road, Shane O’Malley’s bold and bright coloured angular shapes and colours on Lower Glanmire Road, Asbestos’ “What is home?” at South Main Street. 

This is Conor’s first large-scale mural in his hometown; however, he has created street art in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Mallorca, Sao Paulo, San Juan, and the Bethlehem Wall. 

Speaking of the Cork city mural, Mr. Harrington says he took inspiration from the English Market, which was established in 1788: 

“My favourite part of Cork is the English market. I used to do as much of my shopping as possible there when I lived in Tower Street, before moving to London. And every time I’m home I’m always sure to have a stroll through and soak up some of the atmosphere. 

I’ve used the English Market as a starting point for my mural, the gate of which is opposite my wall.” 

He continued on saying that although that was his initial inspiration, there are a variety of components at play: 

“In my painting, a man sets a table, a composition of fruit and veg in the manner of a lot of still life paintings from the 18th Century, when the English market and much of the Grand Parade and Patrick’s Street was built. The table is overflowing with fruit, an abundance of fresh produce that has been available in the market for years. I’ve included a doll’s house on the table to illustrate how Cork is a city built on food and how our culinary scene is one of our greatest assets. I’ve also included a fire extinguisher on the table as a reminder of the Burning of Cork 101 years ago, and that although the market was mostly spared, damage was still done.”

Conor Harrington’s Mural – Photo by John Beasley.

“In the mural I’ve played with proportion and inverted the traditional scale of figure and dwelling to exacerbate the idea of the Georgian figure as a looming power or Lord over his domain. In my work I examine the role and legacy of the empire, and try to find parallels in contemporary culture.”

“By including the doll’s house as a reference to home, housing and the current crisis in Ireland and the abundant fruit table which is in a state of overflow and collapse, I’m asking the question to whom does power and plenty belong? Despite this historical foundation, my mural is ultimately about the balance of abundance and excess, and the fall which inevitably follows.” 

Artist Conor Harrington with his mural – Photo by John Beasley.

Many local businesses in Cork have contributed to the work that Ardú do. 

One major supporter is Pat McDonnell Paints, who supplied the artists with some of their materials for this year’s programme – including 140 litres of paint tinted in over 22 colours to Conor Harrington’s mural. 

Ardú is supported by Cork City Council and Creative Ireland, with spray paint and paint being sponsored by local businesses Vibes & Scribes and Pat McDonnell Paints. 

However, in order to completely cover the total cost of this year’s events and to ensure its future, the project is now asking for your help. 

You can donate €10, €20, €50, or €100 to the cause and you will be entered into a raffle draw to win a signed photo print of artwork from the 2020 Ardú series. 

There will be 5 random winners and each one can select an artwork of their choice.  

The raffle is available to enter online via bigcartel: https://arducork.bigcartel.com/ 

To find out more about Ardú you can visit their social media pages: 

Renowned Cork-born London-based artist Conor Harrington (right), and assistant and budding artist David O’Sullivan (left) –  Photo by John Beasley.


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