Dublin: 16 February, 2016: 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.
‘They are of us all’ will be located in the new eastern courtyard at the GPO, where visitors to the GPO Witness History immersive exhibition can take time to reflect on what they have experienced and contemplate the very particular history of the GPO buildings and the fate of the 40 children who were lost to their families as a result of gunfire. Using stone and steel, the scale of the artwork emphasises human relationships and it sensitively relates to old and new materials within the immediate built environment.
Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, the land on which the GPO stands was the location of cottage homes of laborers who worked the farmland of St. Mary’s Abbey on the banks of the Liffey. Since the GPO’s construction in 1814, the eastern courtyard area has housed mail carriages, horses, letter sorting rooms, telegram messengers’ bicycles, modern day bicycle sheds, water tanks, air conditioning units and a smoking shelter. It’s a space that has been adapted, destroyed and re-shaped at different times. It was rebuilt after its devastation during the Easter Rising and now it is newly re-imagined as a very special contemplative space within An Post’s GPO Witness History visitor centre.
Current and upcoming exhibitions by Barbara Knezevic:
- Duality of Form, Solstice Arts Centre, Meath, curated by Mary Cremin Until 11/03/2016
- Object Wars, ArtBox, Dublin until 12/03/2016
- Ajar (2-person exhibition with Jaana Laakkonen), Gallery Augusta HIAP, Helsinki, 08/04- 17/05/16
- City Agents, EKKM, Tallin, Estonia curated by Jussi Koitela 06/08 – 13/09/2016
- Solo exhibition, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin November 2016
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.