Sculpture depicting WWI soldier to be unveiled in Dublin

A sculpture created from scrap metal depicting a weary soldier is set to be unveiled in Dublin to commemorate the centenary of the ending of World War I.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan will launch the art installation at a special ceremony in St Stephen’s Green on Sunday afternoon.

Created by Dorset-based artist and blacksmith Martin Galbavy and constructed by Chris Hannam of Dorset Forge and Fabrication, The Haunting Soldier is a six-metre high sculpture designed to evoke the fragility and suffering of those who survived World War I and returned home to an uncertain and difficult future.

It was made from scraps of metal including horse shoes, spanners, car jacks and brake discs.

Detailed view of some of the parts of scrap metal used by blacksmith Martin Galbavy (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The ghostly figure was brought to Ireland by Dublin-based solicitor Sabina Purcell, who discovered she had a family connection to those who served in the war.

It led her to explore how she could remember and commemorate the soldiers from the island of Ireland who fought in the war, both those who died and those who survived.

When she came across photographs of the sculpture, it resonated with her and she decided to bring it to Dublin.

Ms Madigan said: “I congratulate Sabina Purcell for her vision and commitment in bringing this beautiful and thought-provoking sculpture to Dublin. It is a great achievement.”

She said the centenary commemorations were shining a light, in some instances for the first time, on the stories of the many men and women from across the island of Ireland who sacrificed their lives in WWI.

“We have explored, with respect and compassion, the differing motivations of those who fought – many driven by complex ideals and aspirations and others driven by economic necessity,” she said.

“The horrors of the battlefield left deep and lasting scars on those who survived, traumas which were often compounded by their difficult experiences on returning home.”

Ms Madigan said she was delighted to support creative endeavours that provide opportunities for people of all ages to consider the sensitive legacies of our past with understanding, empathy and a spirit of mutual respect and kindness.

The sculpture will be on show nearby the pond in St Stephen’s Green until November 26.

- Press Association

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