It’s his first large-scale hometown commission.
And now artist Conor Harrington has revealed the meaning behind his spectacular new mural at Bishop Lucey Park.
Based in London since the mid-2000s, Harrington has created street art in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Mallorca, Sao Paulo, San Juan, and the Bethlehem Wall, but his latest piece is inspired by his favourite part of Cork: the bustling 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.” Conor explained.
“I’ve used the English Market as a starting point for my mural, the gate of which is opposite my wall. It was built in 1788 and has seen us through famine, boom and bust.”
‘Cork is a city built on food’
In the painting, a man sets a table, a composition of fruit and vegetables 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 (@conorsaysboom) October 15, 2021
In the mural, Conor also plays with proportion, inverting 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.”
Paint for the latest Ardú project mural was provided by Pat McDonnell Paints, who supplied the artist with 140 litres of paint tinted in over 22 colours.
Support Ardú and win a custom print
In order to cover total costs for this year’s event (artists fees, painting materials, maintenance) and to help secure the future of Ardú Street Art Project, the crew need your support.
Ardú’s fundraiser allows for four donation options – €10, €20, €50, or €100 – everyone who donates is entered into a raffle to win a signed photo print of artwork from the 2020 Ardú series, which featured works by artists Maser, Peter Martin, Shane O’Driscoll, Deirdre Breen, Garreth Joyce, Aches and James Earley.
There will be five winners chosen at random and each winner will select an artwork of their choice. The raffle is available to enter online at arducork.bigcartel.com.