'Her story symbolises the modern Cork': Migrant woman mural almost complete

'Her story symbolises the modern Cork': Migrant woman mural almost complete
Fintan Magee working on his street mural in Bishop Lucey Park

A migrant woman sits in a pool of water clasping a bowl of native Cork flowers. Four storeys tall and overlooking a section of city's ancient walls, she represents the port city's rich history and is a symbol of the modern city.

That's according to international renowned street artist, Fintan Magee, who hopes to finish the latest addition to Leeside's growing list of stunning large-scale street murals within the next 48-hours.

"Her story symbolises the modern Cork," said the Australian artist, who has family roots in Derry.

Mr Magee was commissioned by Cork City Council to paint the piece on the double gable wall facing Bishop Lucey Park.

Curated by The Walls Project, it is the third in a series of murals the art group has helped deliver in partnership with the city council and Blackrock Castle Observatory over the last six months.

Mr Magee said: "In my research, I learned a lot about the history of Cork. It's a port city, and had a lot of out-going migration during Famine and a lot of incoming migration more recently.

"And I wanted to paint someone from a refugee background. She's holding wildflowers from Cork. There's a lot of flowers from all over the world growing here, and lots of flowers from here, growing all over the world.

This city has always been a melting pot and trading post - not just for goods, but for ideas and cultures. And I thought that was quite beautiful and that it symbolises what this place is about.

Edel Tobin of The Walls Project said they are delighted to have an artist of Fintan's calibre work on the project: "I knew as soon as we received the call on this commission that Fintan was the perfect person for the job."

Lord Mayor Cllr John Sheehan said large-scale art work of this quality adds to the city's attractiveness: "Street art helps create a tangible sense of place, resulting in increased foot traffic while adding colour, vibrancy and character to the city."

Fintan Magee working on his street mural in Bishop Lucey Park
Fintan Magee working on his street mural in Bishop Lucey Park

Cllr Kieran McCarthy, who watched the artist work on site yesterday, confirmed that councillors have agreed to ring-fence money in next year's budget for another place-making fund to help commission more work like this. I

t will also help groups such as Mad About Cork, the People's Republic of Cork and Reimagine Cork which have been working on smaller-scale project for several years.

Several high-profile large-scale street art projects have been completed in the city recent months, including the Welcome to Cork mural on Water St by Garreth Joyce from Cork, which celebrates the city’s designation as Europe’s friendliest by Conde Naste traveller magazine, and Liberte/Egalite/Cupán Tae/French Huguenot/Allez les rouges artwork on Carey’s Lane, also by Mr Joyce; the transformation of the former ESB building on Caroline Street, by Shane O’Driscoll, from Cork, in association with Brown Thomas; the Kingfisher mural on the Lavitt’s Quay entrance to Paul St car park, by Curtis Hylton, from England, which was completed in association with The Walls Project and Blackrock Observatory; the space mural outside Cornmarket St shopping centre, by Shane Sutton, from Dublin, also supported by The Walls Project and Blackrock Observatory; and the bandstand project opposite UCC’s main gates at the entrance to the Mardyke, by Deirdre Breen, from Cork, which was funded by the council’s arts office as park of the Mardyke 300 celebrations.

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